Windhoek — The Ministry of Mines and Energy says it has noticed with growing concern the illegal activities taking place at the Oshikango border post in the Ohangwena Region where large amounts of illegal fuel are smuggled into the country for resale. Angolan petrol sells for just over N$6 per litre and diesel for about N$7.30 per litre compared to well over N$14 per litre in Namibia.
"According to current law, only licensed wholesalers are allowed to import fuel into Namibia and only licensed retailers are allowed to resell fuel. The fuel smuggled from other countries does not also meet the specifications prescribed for all the vehicles currently operating on Namibian roads," said mines and energy Permanent Secretary, Simeon Negumbo.
In a statement sent late on Friday, Negumbo warned that not only does this illegal fuel deprive Namibia of vital income through tax and other levy evasion, but it also damages the environment and the vehicles of uninformed consumers. To this end, the Ministry has engaged with stakeholders in the past to address the problem but more effort is required to resolve this pressing challenge.
Local motorists have had to brace for no less than five fuel increases this year alone. The mines and energy ministry has blamed namely the global price per barrel of refined oil and the exchange rate between the Namibia Dollar against the US dollar. Political tensions contributed to jittery oil speculators particularly after a shortage of oil in the global market following Iran's supply reduction as a result of sanctions imposed by the US.
Whenever there is a shortage of supply in the market, prices of oil, naturally, go up as they have been for the past several months. Month-to-month, the price of oil has remained stable during October at an average of US$86 per barrel of refined petrol and US$95 per barrel of refined diesel. However, Friday's closing price of Brent Crude was down to US$56 per barrel as a result of increased production by some countries coupled with global uncertainty.
Meanwhile, in the same statement, Negumbo noted the phasing out of high-Sulphus Diesel. There are two types of Diesel brands on the local market at the moment, namely; Diesel 50 ppm (low Sulphur content) and Diesel 500 ppm (high Sulphur content).
"In line with the government's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep our environment clean, the Ministry of Mines and Energy has embarked on a mission to phase out the high Sulphur content Diesel brand and only keep the low Sulphur Diesel brand in Namibia. This move will have no adverse effect on consumers as vehicles and all other machines will continue to run on the low Sulphur content Diesel," said Negumbo.