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State probes petroleum transporters

NKWETO MFULA, Chingola
MINISTER of Information and Broadcasting Services Kampamba Mulenga says Government will institute investigations into allegations that some petroleum transporters have formed a cartel and are working with opposition political parties to disrupt transportation of petroleum products.
Ms Mulenga, who is chief government spokesperson, said fuel is an important commodity that supports economic activities in the country and disruptions to supply will not be allowed.
“Petroleum is an important commodity for the country. Government will not take it lightly to disturb the transportation of the commodity in the country,” she said.
Ms Mulenga said Government will institute investigations into the alleged formation of a cartel by transporters and those found wanting will be brought to book.
She said transporters should work with Government as the authority is doing everything possible to ensure that they participate in the importation of petroleum products into the country.
The minister said it is uncalled for for transporters to work with the opposition because it is Government that is in charge of running national affairs.
“The opposition will only frustrate their businesses because Government will take stern measures on such manoeuvres,” she said.
The minister said President Lungu and Minister of Energy David Mabumba met with their counterparts in Tanzania on the need to sort out problems that petroleum transporters are facing.
“The matter is almost being concluded by the two governments, the problem is not with us but our counterparts in Tanzania; we have a heart for our transporters,” Ms Mulenga said.
Ms Mulenga said Government is committed to ensuring that local petroleum transporters participate in the importation of the commodity either through Tanzania or South Africa.
She urged the transporters to remain calm as Government is doing everything possible to protect them.
She recalled that Government held a meeting with the Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) to try and sort out the problems that they are facing
Ms Mulenga also took a swipe at petroleum transporters that want to monopolise the transportation of fuel when Zambia is a liberilised economy.
And some drivers have called for the dissolution of PTAZ because it is inciting drivers to revolt against Government in a bid to disrupt the importation of fuel.
“If you remember very well, the protest by tanker drivers two weeks before the general election was organised by the association.
“How can an association have the bravery to even sue the regulator, the Energy Regulation Board.  This happened in December 2015,” recalled one of the drivers who sought anonymity.
But PTAZ general secretary Benson Tembo welcomed the investigations into the alleged cartel by petroleum transporters.
“Transporting of fuel is pure business and the association is working with the Government of the day,” he said.
Mr Tembo said the transportation of finished petroleum products is mainly done by foreign transporters and local participation is less than 50 percent.
“We have been holding meetings with Government on our concerns as local transporters,” he said. READ MORE

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