NEWS that the government has been suffering massive losses as a result of inefficiency at the Kurasini Oil Jetty (KOJ) is another setback on the struggling economy.
The Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr Charles Tibeza, said during a surprise tour at the Dar es Salaam Port over the weekend that the government has been losing 40bn/- per month in the past six months.
The envisaged Single Point Mooring (SPM) project, which was designed to be completed in April, is almost three times capacity of KOJ. This means that completion of the dual pipeline fuel discharging expansion project would offer oil marketing companies a big relief as the KOJ can no longer handle huge consignments of fuel imported for the local market and for transit to the neighbouring countries.
The country is currently estimated to consume 350,000 metric tonnes of fuel per month out of which 65 per cent is diesel, 25 per cent petrol and 10 per cent kerosene and Jet A fuel. Under the newly-introduced bulk oil procurement system which is almost four months since it came into effect, expectations were high that fuel prices were to go down by 20 per cent.
However, motorists have been upset that prices have continued to skyrocket with no end in sight to reverse the negative trend. There are several factors which have led to high demurrage charges. These include long delays in discharging fuel.
The Dar es Salam Port ought to be the gateway for East and Central African landlocked countries, but the ambitious plan seems to have failed to make any notable achievement. It's a fact that the Dar es Salaam Port is strategically positioned to serve the entire East and Central African region but lack of clear plans to develop it into a modern facility is discouraging importers and exporters.
While some neighbouring countries like Kenya and Mozambique are expanding their ports to handle more cargo, the government must put in place viable plans that would ensure delays in cargo clearance are minimized or removed, if possible. This will restore the Dar es Salaam Port's battered image and in so doing, business would definitely pick up significantly.