ALLEGATIONS that the Ministry of Energy and Minerals is pushing the Petroleum Importation Coordinator (PIC) to include Puma Energy (T) Limited and its parent company, Trafigura PTE Limited, in a shortlist of companies to supply the country with fuel under bulk procurement system, are not true.
The Minister for Energy and Minerals, Professor Sospeter Muhongo, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that there is no possibility of smuggling, onto the list, any of the two companies -one of which the government is a shareholder.
"The situation is under control, we are done with trickery and cheating in this area as such no need to panic," said Prof Muhongo who has already dissolved the PIC board led by Kwimba legislator, Mansoor Shanif Hiran.
Prof Muhongo said the PIC board which was dominated by the private sector failed to address arrogance among oil marketing companies which led to artificial fuel shortages last month.
"The new board is chaired by the government and has members from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and the private sector," he pointed out as stakeholders voiced concern that Puma Energy (T) Limited is influencing the PIC to include it on the shortlist.
Earlier this month, PIC released names of companies which have qualified after initial evaluation of tender bids. The winning bidder will supply the country with petroleum products next January.
"We can see that Puma officials are going around trying to influence PIC to include them on the shortlist although they never submitted their bid as required by regulations," said an industrial source.
Reports said a senior Trafigura management team flew into the country from London last Thursday partly to lobby for their inclusion in the next BPS tender shortlist. New PIC Chairman, James Ambilikile and Puma Energy Director, Adam Elinewinga did not pick 'Daily News' phone calls nor return text messages.
Puma Energy caused commotion last July when the ministry violated tender rules by granting the company a tender to supply the state-run Tanesco with heavy furnace oil (HFO).
Puma Energy which was formerly owned by the British Petroleum (BP) (T) Ltd, was given the tender after the ministry was satisfied that the process was in accordance with public procurement regulations No. 42 (1) of 2005. The government has a 50 per cent stake in Puma Energy which bought BP Tanzania's stake earlier this year.