THERE will be massive importation of fuel next month to cater for the high demand for petroleum products during the forthcoming General Election, the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) has said.
Tanzania is scheduled to hold the General election on Wednesday 28 October, with campaigns set to stretch from August 26 up to October 27.
The authority noted in Dodoma yesterday that there was always a fuel business boom during elections, hence the push for massive importation of the product to avoid scarcity.
EWURA's Communications and Public Relations Manager, Titus Kaguo told a press conference that a vessel with 89.6 million litres of fuel is expected to dock next week and another ship with 67 million litres is scheduled to arrive on August 10.
"We have also directed the Petroleum Bulk Procurement Agency (PBPA) to bring into the country two fuel vessels in August because we are heading to election processes. We are doing all these to assure enough supply of the products during election time," he stated.
Last month, the author ity announced that importation of fuel for August will rise by 52 per cent for petrol and 30.9 per cent for diesel, compared to July following the resumption of economic activities that were paralyzed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Kaguo stated that due to resumption of all economic activities, the authority expects an increase of fuel importation for August, reaching 157.9 million litres of petrol from 103.3 million litres of July.
On other hand, the importation of diesel will rise from 176.1 million litres of July to 230.6 million litres in August.
In another development, Mr Kaguo said the authority had established that some business people were violating rules and regulations of conducting the fuel business for their selfish interests.
He said some retailers were taking fuel from tanks, filling it in jerry cans and selling it at high prices.
He said the tendency had been noticed in some regions and that such dishonest dealers had been creating an artificial shortage. Mr Kaguo cited Mbinga District as one of the areas affected by the practice.
"We will arrest one after another because they are disrupting the fuel business in the country," he declared. He said the authority would collaborate closely with the police force to apprehend the crooks. "We will not have mercy on those found engaging in such criminal conducts. The first step would be to close down their petrol stations and revoke their licenses," he stated.
Explaining on the effects of Covid-19 on fuel business in the country, Mr Kaguo said fuel consumption dropped by 2 per cent in March and by 7 per cent in April. This propelled dealers to reduced importation of fuel.
However, he said, the situation started to normalize from June when the consumption increased by 7 per cent and later by 12 per cent this month.
Mr Kaguo attributed the increase of consumption to the resumption of economic activities that were initially paralysed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.