Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia Secretary General Benson Tembo says there is a lot of corruption in the transportation of fuel.

Adressing journalists at a joint media briefing in Ndola, Wednesday, Tembo said government’s decision to ban the importation of low sulphur gas would encourage fair competition.

“Transportation of government fuel from outside Zambia to Tazama depots was only done by foreign transporters. Zambian transporters were denied the opportunity to transport the product because some quarters of government thought the local transporters had no capacity to move the product from outside Zambia. But again there is a lot of corruption in the transportation of government fuel,” Tembo said.

“It is very difficult for the government to detect smuggled fuel [and] oil marketing companies were importing low sulphur gas. This ban on imports by some OMCs will make it easy for ZRA, ERB and other serious stakeholders to confront and remove smuggling of fuel in Zambia. The ban will bring about fair competition amongst local oil marketing companies and enhance fair retail and commercial pricing. Currently, some OMCs are under cutting on the price to disadvantage others. There was cheating in the distribution of imported fuel as some OMCs were lying that the imported low sulphur gas was meant for the mines when this product ended up at retail and commercial sites thereby disadvantaging others.”

He said the the unions had resolved that the four suppliers currently engaged by government must not entertain any local Zambian transporter to sign a transport contract.

“Current and future suppliers must not entertain any individual local Zambian transporter to sign a transport contract on importation of government fuel. We shall not take kindly any supplier or transporter who shall decide to go against our resolve. Our desire is to bring about sanity, discipline and unity in the sub-sector,” said Tembo.

And Zambia Union of Tanker Drivers and Allied Workers Secretary General Humphrey Kalesha said he was shocked about why the Energy Regulation Board and RTSA had allowed 12 transporters to operate without following procedure.

Kapesha said at the moment, ERB was not doing its best to monitor the transportation of fuel in the country.

“We are disappointed seeing foreign companies coming to register through PACRA and RTSA. One such company is Midlands Logistics which registered in Zambia without following procedure and they are operating. ERB and RTSA should monitor this transporter, because we don’t want to be confrontational. There are 12 tankers that were operating without procedure but as a union, we intercepted and impounded the tankers. As at now ERB is very poor in monitoring. RTSA is also questionable,” said Kapesha.