Zambian Fuel Tanker drivers, who have been on go-slow that has led to a fuel shortage in various parts of the country, have appealed to the government to consider making it a preserve of the local transporters to be transporting Jet A1 fuel into the country. The drivers have argued that it must be a security concern to allow foreign transporters to be transporting Jet A1 fuel to Zambia.
The drivers raised the issue when Transport and Communications Minister Hon Mutotwe Kafwaya met them in the industrial area, Lusaka on Saturday morning. The drivers have complained that despite the government signing the 50% volume allocation policy, foreign transporters are given the preference to load the fuel from Tanzania and Mozambique ports than local transporters.
Transport Minister Mr Kafwaya said he will deliver the message to President Edgar Lungu who sent him on a fact-finding mission, adding that in as much as the issue to do with fuel is not under his ministry but the Ministry of Energy, he will inform the Head of State on this proposal by the drivers.
“His Excellency President Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu sent me on a fact-finding mission. Yesterday I was in Ndola meeting your colleagues and today am here (in Lusaka) meeting you. And from the look of things, the issues are the same. We are talking about the implementation of the 50% allocation to local transporters. I can assure you that President Lungu will address this issue. On the issue of Jet Fuel A1, I can’t talk about it because it’s not under my ministry but I will deliver your message to the President,” he told the drivers.
“If President Lungu didn’t care about your issues, he would not have sent me here to engage you on issues affecting you. And I can assure you that all these issues you have raised, I will include them in my report which I will submit to the President during this same Easter holiday.”
And Maningi Bwakya, Tank driver said the biggest challenge affecting the drivers is the full implementation of the 50% volume allocation to local transporters.
“Then number two on the list Hon Minister is the issue of Jet A1 fuel. If you go to these other countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, Jet fuel is being transported by indigenous transporters. But it’s only here in Zambia where most of these drivers have never gone to any Airport to offload Jet fuel. And we believe this borders on security Hon Minister because we cannot be allowing foreigners to be bringing fuel which is even being used by the Republican President,” he submitted.