via Energy regulator threatens to withdraw fuel licences – DailyNews Live 4 January 2015 by Ndakaziva Majaka
HARARE – Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has threatened to withdraw operating licences and prosecute errant fuel providers violating stipulated blending rules this year.
Gloria Magombo, Zera’s chief executive said while the number of licensed players significantly improved last year, there have been increased cases of law violations.
“There are five players whom I am not at liberty to disclose who have repeatedly adulterated fuel blending rules. We shall start withdrawing licences and make sure they get jail time,” she said.
“While dealers have been prosecuted, the fine ranges from $150 to $500, way less than what these crooks make as they fleece Zimbabweans, so next year, we will be revoking licences so that players understand the gravity of the matter,” she said at a recently held breakfast meeting.
Magombo highlighted that the offenders were prime targets for withdrawal of licences and litigation, saying failure to adhere to relevant Acts and Statutory Instruments is a crime.
“As a country, all we are saying is it would be unfair on the consumer if we keep fining these offenders such ridiculous amounts. They will keep on committing the same offences, so we are taking it up a notch,” she said.
Zimbabwe regulates fuel prices through Statutory Instrument (SI) 80 of 2014 which provides the framework for the pricing of fuel. However, prices are never the same on the market due to differing operational costs for the various fuel providers.
Magombo also warned fuel providers violating stipulated blending rules to comply with the stipulated standards.
Magombo also said an additional 165 new players were licensed in 2014. In 2013, the watchdog organisation licensed 384 players, while 299 were given the nod in 2012.
Of the 549 licensed in 2014, 491 were retail, 32 in procurement, seven in wholesale, 16 in production (blending) and three in production.
Zera issues the production, procurement, wholesale and retail licences and all licences are valid for a period of one year after which the licence may be renewed subject to satisfying periodic audits conducted by Zera.
Petroleum sector compliance issues range from the pricing of fuels — Statutory Instrument 80 of 2014, the submission of returns — (section 43 (b) of Petroleum Act), submission of annual financial statements (section 36 (3) of Petroleum Act) and the adherence to forecourt safety health and environmental standards.