ENERGY and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) came under fire for over expenditure in its operations during the 2011/2012 financial year.
The authority's expenditure had more than doubled in one year after it shot up to a whopping 14bn/- from just 6bn/- that had been spent in the previous fiscal year.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Public Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC), EWURA's board of directors and management, however, defended the expenditure saying it was due to "increased activities" at the regulatory authority.
"It should be understood that EWURA regulates four sectors of the economy namely water, electricity, petroleum industry and gas and during the year in question there were more activities compared to the previous year," the EWURA board chair, Mr Simon Sayore, told the parliamentary committee.
Whereas the authority had received unqualified opinion from the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) on its books of accounts during the year, Special Seats MP (CCM), Ms Easter Bulaya expressed concerns that EWURA's expenditure had shot up by almost 9bn/- within the span of one year.
Magomeni MP, Mohamed Chomboh (CCM) was also concerned that during the period under review the authority had spent 2.7bn/- on field supervision, up from just 433m/- that was spent one year before. In response, the regulator's Head of Communication and Public Affairs, Mr Titus Kaguo, said the increment of funds allocated for inspection during 2011/12 was due to increased in spections to check fuel adulteration and dumping of fuel intended for transit.
"During the period we had introduced fuel marking system to check against the malpractices and thus there were more inspections than before to assess compliance," Mr Kaguo said. He further noted that the expenditure on inspections also included cost incurred for the fuel marking system and paying of Value Added Tax (VAT) for the same.
EWURA awarded a tender to Global Fluids International S.A. (GFI) for fuel marking system in the country in 2010 in a bid to check fuel adulteration and dumping. The two-year contract covered marking of diesel, petrol and kerosene to be sold in the local market.
GFI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eurocontrol Technics Inc., a Canadian public company. Mbozi West MP, Mr Ernest Silinde (Chadema), on his part queried augmented expenditure on capacity building for EWURA staff had swelled from 1.9bn/- to 2.3bn/- during the financial year.
He also wanted to know how such funds were used. Mr Kaguo maintained that due to the need of increased inspections across the country, the authority had recruited more workers for the job and thus increased expenditure.
On the other hand, the Acting Chairman of the parliamentary committee, Mr Kangi Lugola (Mwibara- CCM), directed EWURA to submit a written explanation of the contract between EWURA and GFI. This came after the committee was told that EWURA is made to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) for the imported markers rather than the contractor.