THE directive by the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) that action should be taken against Augusta Energy SA for supplying petrol of poor quality in the domestic market is highly commendable.
When the government opted to introduce the bulk procurement system (BPS) for petroleum products consumers expected that the move would facilitate price decreases. However, despite higher prices the system appears to be associated with many problems including poor quality has of late led to continuous complaints from members of the public and oil marketing companies.
The Chief Government Chemist Laboratory Agency (CGCLA) said in a report recently that the firm supplied petrol that ontained ethanol at levels that were higher than 9.5 per cent specification recommended by the Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS). Augusta Energy SA, a Swiss firm, maintains that the disputed fuel had legally acceptable levels of oxygen content of not more than 1.04 per cent which many oil marketing companies imported prior to commencement of bulk procurement.
It is hoped that the Petroleum Importation Co-ordinator (PIC) will act swiftly and ensure that the lasting solution to the problem is found. The Dar es Salaam port handles transit fuel to neighbouring countries including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.
Bringing in sub-standard petroleum products will easily damage the country's reputation in those countries. The PIC should therefore take necessary action against Augusta Energy SA who won the tender for supplying petrol under bulk procurement system (BPS) between January and March, this year, for breaching contractual obligations.
Following complaints by oil marketing companies last April, EWURA intervened in the matter by collecting samples from various sources and forwarded them to the CGCLA for quality analysis. The results of the analysis conducted by the chemist show that out of the 11 samples that were analyzed, 10 had ethanol content which was above the level that is specified by TBS.
These findings are proof that some unscrupulous dealers have been capitalizing on some oversight to import sub-standard or low quality fuel into the country. Such suppliers should be taken to task that would serve as a deterrent to other likeminded dealers.