BY MUBANGA NONDO
THE Transporters Association of Zambia (TAZ) has threatened to withdraw its transport services in the fuel industry if the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) does not stop the foreign transporters from transporting fuel in the country.
TAZ president Roberto Sabbadin said in Ndola on Friday at a press briefing that the association is concerned at the rate at which foreign transporters are freely conducting their businesses at the expense of local fuel transporters.
Mr Sabbadin said it is sad that ERB has not effected the ultimatum that was given to it by Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma on the ban on foreign fuel transporters.
The association has since given the ERB an ultimatum of up to Monday to respond to the concerns raised or it will withdraw its transportation services.
â€œWe are giving the ERB a two day ultimatum in which they should respond to our concerns, failure to which we will withdraw our services from the market.
He alleged that ERB has continued to issue licences to foreign fuel transporters, adding that it has even renewed licences for transporters whose licences had expired despite the minister issuing a directive to the board that it should not renew expired licences for the transporters.
Mr Sabbadini added that some Oil-Marketing Companies (OMCs) has preferred the services of foreign transporters to those of local ones adding that such a move is retrogressive on the part of the local people.
Efforts to get a comment from ERB executive director Lengiwe Lungu failed as she could not be reached on her mobile phone by press time.
Recently, Mr Yaluma gave a directive to ERB to stop the issuance of licences to foreign transporters in the fuel industry and further directed that the board should not renew licences that were about to expire.
The minister said the move was aimed at empowering local transporters as the market had been flooded by foreign transporters.
Furthermore, Mr Sabaddin appealed to ERB to consider increasing the transport rate for the local transporters as the rate has not been increased inÂ a long time, adding that the last time it was increased by 12 percent was on May 29,2010.
BY MUBANGA NONDO