KAPALA CHISUNKA, Lusaka
The Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) wants Government to investigate the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) and the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) over the issuance of licences to foreign transporters.
But Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma has assured transporters that officials from ERB and RTSA found frustrating governmentâ€™s effort in promoting the transport and petroleum sector will be moved.
In July, Mr Yaluma gave a policy direction to ERB not to licence foreign transporters. The minister also directed the board not to renew their licences once they expired.
However, PTAZ spokesperson Benson Tembo said ERB has not adhered to the policy directive.
â€œFollowing the ministerâ€™s policy directive, ERB advertised intention to issue a licence to Unitrans Zambia, a South African company.
When we called them, they said they had cancelled the advert because they received written policy directive,â€ Mr Tembo said.
Mr Tembo who was speaking in Lusaka yesterday at an emergency indaba for local transporters, also noted that there seemed to be some discrepancies regarding the actual number of licences issued to foreign transporters.
â€œERB reported to the minister that Super Star Forwarders Zambia Limited from Tanzania had 10 licenced trucks, while Zambulk from Zimbabwe had 28 trucks. The minister directed ERB not to increase the fleet on these licences if at all they were given,â€ Mr Tembo said.
He said it was later revealed that Super Star Forwarders actually had 29 trucks as at September 23, 2014 instead of the 10 that were reported to the minister.
Mr Tembo said ERB and RTSA were frustrating Governmentâ€™s resolve to empower and promote local transporters.
But Mr Yaluma assured transporters that Government will not tolerate officials working against Government policies.
â€œThe Patriotic Front government is transparent and we are here to create opportunities and an environment which promote local business. If some people in these Government offices are frustrating President Sataâ€™s policies, then they should be moved,â€ Mr Yaluma said.
Mr Yaluma said Government wants to create employment and empower local transporters assuring transporters that he has had meetings with ERB and RTSA.
â€œFollowing allegations that my directives were not adhered to, my ministry put ERB to task and conducted independent investigations to ascertain the authenticity of these allegations.
â€œThe investigations revealed that ERB has not deviated from the directive and are currently following the necessary laid down procedures required for implementation of new licencing guidelines on empowering Zambian people in the petroleum sub-sector, he said.
Mr Yaluma urged the transporters to focus on positioning themselves as Zambians to take over the business opportunities that will arise from the implementation of his policy directives.
And PTAZ president Roberto Sabbadin wondered why transporters from neighbouring countries are allowed to operate in Zambia when Zambians are not allowed to work in other countries.
Mr Sabbadin said the reason other countries do not allow foreign transporters is to promote and protect their local industry.
â€œWe need more support from Government in creation of opportunities and enhancing business prospects in Zambia for local transporters,â€ he said.
KAPALA CHISUNKA, Lusaka