Thursday, February 07, 2008
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thursday February 07, 2008 [03:00]
ERB has started a study on the decentralisation of fuel storage as a means of reducing fuel prices in various parts of the country, public relations officer Kwali Mfuni has said. Commenting on suggestions by Small Scale Industries Association of Zambia (SSIAZ) that Energy Regulation Board (ERB) should not allow fuel coming into tankers from Tanzania to go to Ndola as that was distorting the fuel price in the country, Mfuni stated that talks were still going on and had not yet been concluded.
Mfuni did not however state when the study would be completed.
“There are on-going talks and studies on decentralisation of fuel storage as a means of reducing fuel prices in various parts of the country, which are yet to be concluded,” Mfuni stated in response to a press query.
SSIAZ treasurer Paul Chileshe recently said in an interview that ERB should allow fuel meant for Northern Province to go straight to Kasama where they were former BP tanks which could hold over one million litres of fuel.
Chileshe said that way, fuel would be cheaper in Northern Province relative to other regions of the country that were nearer to Ndola and Lusaka.
Mfuni said in theory this made sense as transport costs would be reduced for the province since Kasama, rather than Ndola would be used as the basis for determining the fuel price.
“However for this to work the tanks would have to be extensively rehabilitated to required standards. In addition the depot in question belongs to BP, who can indicate why the storage tanks are not being used. The ERB is a regulator and does not engage in micro-management of licenses,” Mfuni stated. She also stated that the option to use tanks in Kasama would only work if they were used to stockpile refined petroleum products, rather than crude as there was no refinery in Kasama.
“Storage facilities, including government depots are available in various parts of the country, which after rehabilitation could be used for this purpose,” observed Mfuni.