TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
MINISTER of Energy David Mabumba says a Bill to govern the petroleum sub-sector has been drafted following Government’s decision to limit its participation in the procurement of fuel. This will enable
Government to save US$1 billion per annum from fuel procurement.
Effective this July, Government will move away from the process of procuring fuel and it will be left to the private sector through strengthened regulations by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB).
Mr Mabumba said under the framework it will allow competition to continue and ERB to remain the regulator of the sector.
Mr Mabumba said Government has done about 80 percent of work needed before handing over the process to the private sector.
“Earlier we set a deadline of March 2017 but moved to July, but as you are aware, we adjusted the pump price of fuel in October last year which led to the market being attractive,” he said.
“Because of the attractiveness of the market, oil marketing companies started to import petroleum instead of buying from Indeni and TAZAMA which led to the firms having huge volumes of petroleum products, and because of this, it was difficult to transition,” he added.
He also said the new arrangement needed to be backed with modalities and legislation to protect both Government and the private sector as well as ensuring protection of investments.
He said the money saved will be invested in other productive sectors of the economy such as roads, schools and hospitals, among others.
“The process will be done in a coordinated manner, we will not just open the market and we need to ensure we are able to regulate it. The petroleum subsector can bring the country’s economy to a standstill if you are not careful with the way you handle it,” he said