Friday, August 31, 2007

Energy board lacks professionalism, charges Mweene

Energy board lacks professionalism, charges Mweene
By Florence Bupe
Friday August 31, 2007 [04:00]

PETROTECH Oil Corporation deputy managing director Dyson Mweene has charged that the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) lacks professionalism in its operations. Reacting to ERB’s disclosure of the suspension of operating licenses for Petrotech Oil Limited and Zambezi Oil and Transport Company Limited for non-remittance of Strategic Reserve Funds (SRF), Mweene said there were stipulated rules that were ignored in the issuance of the information.

He also said ERB was out of touch with oil marketing companies (OMCs), as Petrotrech had remitted the Strategic Reserve Funds under review, amounting to K58 million.

“When it comes to confidential matters of such nature, there are stipulated regulations that ERB needs to follow, which was not the case when they issued that statement to say our licence had been suspended.

We demand that ERB should reverse that statement and act more responsibly,” Mweene said. “There is a serious communication breakdown between ERB and oil marketing companies.”

On Wednesday, ERB announced the suspension of licences for Zambezi Oil and Transport Company Limited and Petrotech Oil Limited for failure to remit SRF collections.

Mweene provided proof of the company’s strategic reserve fund payment in full, made on August 28, 2007.

“It was alleged that we had not paid SRF amounting to K58 million. This money has already been paid, and a receipt number 1724 was issued by ERB,” Mweene said.

“This is a clear misrepresentation of facts and it is regrettable that ERB should always issue misleading statements. We call upon ERB to ensure that they always convey the correct information, otherwise their information is not far from malice.”

ERB stated that the two affected OMCs appeared before the board in June where they were ordered to pay all the outstanding SRF monies and to be current in their remittances, failure to which their licenses would be suspended.

However, Mweene charged that ERB was just trying to politicise the issue, and lamented that the announcement would have adverse effects on their operations.

Efforts to get a comment from ERB on the matter failed as the communications officer Kwali Mfuni was reportedly not in the office.

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