‘Punish fuel hoarders’

  • Consumers call for transition to alternative energy

DAR ES SALAAM: ECONOMISTS, consumers and development stakeholders have demanded for serious measures to be taken against fuel dealers, who have hoarded the precious commodity, sending Tanzanians in some parts of the country into desperate search of the commodity.

Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ on Wednesday, a trade and policy advisor with the East African Business Council (EABC) Adrian Njau called for the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) to embark on a serious crackdown on unscrupulous fuel dealers who have developed a tendency of hoarding the commodity, to create artificial shortage.

The trade expert equally challenged the regulator to engage law enforcers in taming the dishonest dealers.

This comes as motorists across the country are coming to terms with new fuel prices announced by the regulator.

According to the new set cap price by EWURA, pump prices for motorists in Dar es Salaam have scaled up by 324/- for diesel, 14/- up for petrol while kerosene rose by 275/-.

Retail prices of petroleum products in Dar es Salaam now stands at 3,213/- per litre of petrol, 3259/- (diesel) and 2,943/- (kerosene) in comparison to last month, where whereby petrol was sold at 3199/-, diesel 2935/- while kerosene was sold at 2668/-.

In Tanga petrol is now available at 3,259/- per litre, diesel 3,305/- and kerosene 2,989/-, while in Mtwara petrol 3, 285/- diesel 3,332/- and 3,016/- for kerosene.

According to EWURA, the changes in prices of petroleum products in September 2023 are mainly due to the increase in the world market prices by up to 21 per cent, an increase in premiums for the importation of petroleum products by up to 62 per cent, geopolitics in major oil producing countries (OPEC+).

“EWURA cannot monitor the conduct of all filling stations in the country, the law enforcers must step in and possibly arrest this dealer,” opined Mr Njau.

Earlier this week, motorists in some parts of the country went on a desperate search for fuel, as most filling stations decided to close shop.

Those who opened their filling stations claimed that they had no fuel.

It is believed that such unscrupulous dealers deliberately hoarded the precious commodity, gleefully waiting for the new prices that came into effect yesterday.

“With such unfortunate incidents happening, it is high time that EWURA scrutinises fuel stations when a price increment is imminent,” Mr Njau suggested.

Economist, Dr Isaac Safari who is a Lecturer at the Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) underscored the need for high production, including food products, saying that in a long run its surplus can cut imported inflation due to fuel price increase in the world market.

Dr Safari said to have a stable economic base the country should strengthen the value chain in key commercial agro products such cotton and sunflowers to boost export of first-class goods such as clothes which can attract more dollar currency thus providing relief to importing costs.

He called upon innovators and scholars in the country to jointly figure out frameworks for integration of alternative sources of energy such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) since the country is abundantly endowed with the resources.

“Alternative sources of energy will reduce dependence on imported fuel; however we need infrastructures such as countrywide gas pipe lines for all citizens to tap the resource,” Dr Safari said.

Economist-cum-investment banker, Dr Hildebrand Shayo said people should brace themselves for an increase in price of goods as the increase in fuel price will cause increase in factory production cost, a situation that lowers purchasing power.

Dr Shayo called for the government in collaboration with the private sectors to establish more LPG infrastructures including gas filling stations, industries for converting vehicles to run gas engines especially in major cities such as Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Arusha.

“Effective investment on alternative sources of energy will reduce demand for fuel importation and this will help to curb dollar shortage, conserve the environment and create more jobs,” he said.

Solar energy expert Mr Gibson Kawago called upon Tanzanians and other local innovators to also turn eye on solar energy which can replace imported fuel dependence as the country undergoes transition to alternative energy.

A resident of Kahama District in Shinyanga Region, Mr Gilbert Masanja urged relevant authorities to impose punishment for fuel dealers who close their stations by nullifying their licenses of operations.

Mr Masanja, who is a motorcyclist, recollected the painful weekend, where visited a good number of filling stations in Kahama but couldn’t get service.

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