The fuel station that sold adulterated fuel to vehicles in a presidential motorcade in Moshi early this month faces the danger of being banned from doing business for one year. The Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (Ewura) has announced that results from a test it conducted confirmed that Total Rafiki Station sold adulterated fuel to vehicles in the presidential motorcade on June 8, 2010. A statement released in Dar es Salaam yesterday said in addition to the one-year closure, owners of the fuel station would be fined Sh5 million in accordance with Ewura (Sampling and Testing) Rules, 2008 for a second offence. The test results show that the petrol that was filled to vehicles in the motorcade did not meet required standards. This was the second time for the same fuel station to be found selling substandard fuel, the statement, signed by the Ewura director general, Mr Haruna Masebu, said. The fuel stations products were found wanting for the first time in December 13, 2007, and the owner was fined Sh7 million. Three vehicles in a motorcade that was heading to pick President Jakaya Kikwete at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) on June 8, 2010 could not do so after filling fuel at the station along National Road in Moshi municipality in Kilimanjaro Region. Shortly after the cars - black Toyota VX V8 Land Cruisers - had been filled with the fuel their sensors indicated that the fuel was contaminated.
Efforts by security officers to start the cars were fruitless, something that forced them to seek for assistance from mechanics with a company called Rajinder Motors, but in vain. As a result, the cars were unable to make the 40-kilometre trip to KIA to pick the President who was on his way to a two-day tour of Kilimanjaro Region.
The owner of the fuel station, Mr Epimark Laswai, said he had bought the fuel from Mount Meru petrol station in Arusha the previous day after his station had run out of petrol. Soon after the incident officials from Ewura flew in from Dar es Salaam to take the petrol samples from the station for inspection. According to Ewura, test results released last Sunday confirmed that the fuel was adulterated. The results also indicated that fuel at the Mount Meru Petroleum Ltd - Uchira, where Mr Laswai had said he bought his fuel, was contaminated and the owners face a year closure plus a Sh5 million fine, because it was the second offense. The incident occurred a few weeks after President Kikwete was forced to change cars twice as two vehicles he was in broke down during a tour of Dar es Salaam. The cause of the mishap has, however, not been made public. Ewura said in the statement yesterday that it will aggressively continue to track down traders who tamper with fuel causing billions of shillings in losses monthly. Normally traders mix kerosene, currently sold at an average price of Sh1,000, with the more expensive petrol and diesel sold at an average price of Sh1,500, to obtain a higher profit margin. Despite the presidential motorcade mishap, close to 20 trucks ferrying fuel to Rwanda and Burundi were recently sent back to Tanzania after they were found to contain adulterated fuel. Ewura said the trucks will be brought to Dar es Salaam for further inspection and, if proven to be containing adulterated fuel, stern measures will be taken against their proprietors. As part of efforts to curb the fuel adulteration problem, last Tuesday the regulator engaged a contractor who will be dealing with fuel marking by putting a chemical marker on all fuels to help customers instantly recognise adulterated fuel. According to Ewura, this method has been successful in Uganda where incidents of adulteration have significantly dropped. The fuel adulteration problem has escalated in recent years to the extent that stakeholders have urged the government to increase the tax on kerosene as a way of arresting the situation.
Alarmed by the increasing problem in the country, various stakeholders have urged the government to increase the tax on kerosene to discourage culprits from the malpractice. Debating the 2010/11 budget speech in Dodoma last week Members of Parliament said it was time kerosene was subjected to the same tax as petrol and diesel to reduce incidents of tampering. Echoing legislators sentiments, officials of the Tanzania Truck Owners Association also wanted the government to increase the tax on kerosene to make Tanzania a reliable transit route for fuel. While petrol and diesel are subjected to fuel levy and excise duty of Sh539 and Sh514 respectively kerosene is charged an excise duty of only Sh52.
But Ewura has warned that increasing kerosene taxes might not solve the problem. This is because experience has shown that other countries that charge lower taxes for kerosene do not have adulteration problems to the extent that exists in Tanzania, according to Ewura. Moreover, there are other substances, apart from kerosene, that are currently being used to tamper with fuel. Ewura mentioned them as ethanol and condensate, which are by-products of gas production at Songo Sngo in southern Tanzania. Ewura advised truck owners to use truck tracking technologies currently available in the country to help control movements of their drivers and reduce the problem. JK Car saga station faces one-year ban Mtazamo: MAMLAKA ZETU HUWA ZINACHUKUA HATUA KALI PALE TU SUALA LINAPOMGUSA MKUBWA!!. SIKU ZOTE HAWA EWURA WAMEKUWA HAWANA MENO YA KUFUATILIA NA KUWABANA WAMILIKI WA VITUO VYA MAFUTA ILI KUFUATA KANUNI NA TARATIBU ILI WASITUUMIZE SIE WANYONGE (KUTUUZIA MAFUTA MACHAFU/YALIYOCHANGAYWA NA VIPIMO VYA WIZI). NADHANI KAMA HIZI KERO ZETU ZOTE INGEKUWA ZINAGONGA MOJA KWA MOJA IKULU KAMA HIVI, HAKIKA ZINGEPATIWA UFUMBUZI WA KUDUMU