Members of Parliament yesterday took the government to task for dilly-dallying in taking action against dealers who have refused to sell fuel at the new prices.
The furious lawmakers said that the country should not succumb to control by the dealers, and that the government should order them to provide the service or take away their licenses.
The MPs were forced to discuss the oil crisis facing the country after Bumbuli Member of Parliament January Makamba tabled the motion under a certificate of urgency.
Following Makamba’s request, the parliamentary leadership committee held an emergency meeting which gave a go ahead to discuss the matter.
Tabling the motion Makamba said before announcement of the new prices, fuel was available but immediately after oil became scarce, adding: “This is an indication that there is a weakness in supervising the laws.”
He asked the government to enforce the laws, saying it would be of no use if parliament enacted laws which were not being enforced.
Makamba blamed Ewura for remaining silent after the oil dealers refused to sell fuel at the new prices.
“The government should demonstrate that it can enforce the laws,” Makamba stressed.
He said parliament blessed the adjustment in fuel price in a bid to give relief to the ordinary wananchi, but the prices have instead gone up, increasing the cost of living.
“We want the fuel situation normalised either today evening (yesterday) or tomorrow morning (today),” Makamba said.
Kigoma-North Legislator Kabwe Zitto said when the government liberalized the oil trade it did not mean that it has handed over the responsibility of protecting the rights of its people.
He said the Ewura Act gives the Regulator the responsibility of protecting consumer rights especially the low income earners.
“Ewura should order the oil dealers to release oil and revoke the licenses of whoever will violate the order. It doesn’t matter how much our people are disturbed. We should allow the government to enforce the laws,” Zitto said.
He advised the government to make use of the military to intervene in resolving the crisis.
He said if oil dealers continue to violate the order the government should allow Tanzania People’s Defense Forces to open the filling stations and sell the oil.
Mkanyageni MP Habib Mnyaa (CUF) blamed the government for the delay to implement the recommendations given by the ninth parliament committee for energy and minerals to allow Tanzania Petroleum Development Company through COPEC to import fuel.
He said if the recommendations had been implemented the country would not have been where it is today.
Mnyaa also said the government should learn that not all the conditions given by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were good for the country.
He said it was high time for the Ethics Commission Act to be implemented effectively because there were allegations that there were some government officials who were involved in the fuel business, who he said were barriers towards the implementation of government orders.
Same East Legislator Anne Kilango Malecela said that good traders were those who take risks, calling on the dealers to take risk by implementing the government order.
“The oil dealers should not think that they are above the law …they should know that business is a risk and agree to sell fuel at the new prices,” Malecela said.
Charles Mwijage (Muleba -North, CCM) said it seven days had elapsed since the indicative prices were released but no action has been taken against the oil dealers.
He said the problem was not the prices but the formula, calling upon the government to hold accountable all those responsible for the mess regardless of their status.
Ubungo MP, John Mnyika blamed the government for failure to take immediate action after the oil dealers refused to release the oil.
He asked President Kikwete to intervene by issuing decree.
Mnyika also asked the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau also to intervene in the saga, saying there was evidence that some government officials have been bribed on the matter.
He questioned the power of the government in enforcing the laws claiming that it has 50 percent share in BP oil company and 50 percent share in TIPER but still the country was faced with fuel crisis.
“Where is the government … why should people face this crisis while we have shares in BP Limited and TIPER?” Mnyika questioned.
Muheza Legislator Hebert Mtangi (CCM) who is also involved in the fuel business said in the distribution of fuel, the filling stations were the last point of the chain.
A Member of Parliament for Peramiho Jenister Mhagama said the government will have no respect if it fails to take action against the oil dealers.
Musoma legislator, Vincent Joseph Nyerere Musoma Urban (Chadema) blamed the government for being irresponsible in solving problems facing Tanzanians. He said the government should carry all the blames for the current fuel crisis going on through out the country.
“Failure to solve oil problems will prove the government’s weakness in reacting to crucial issues. It should think strategically on how to mitigate the situation”, he said.
Tabora Urban legislator Ismail Rage (CCM) suggested that District Commissioners visit filling stations in their respective areas and take legal actions against those hiding fuel.
“According to the country laws, the DC is allowed to put any detain person in a cell for 48 hours”, he noted.
Bussega legislator, Dr Titus Kamani (CCM) said the government must take stringent measures against oil retailers. He said oil marketers cannot be disobedient to the government.
Meanwhile, Singida East MP, Tundu Lissu (Chadema) said oil marketing companies operating in Tanzania have no right of doing business in the country, which is why they have to obtain a license.
“EWURA is the only organ that licenses this oil marketing companies to operate within the country and has the right to revoke their licenses”, he said.
“The government should not remain mum on these issues. It has to take legal actions against them, despite their support during the election campaign last year”, he noted.
Kimono MP, Iddi Azzan (CCM) suggested that if oil dealers fail to adhere to the government order, legal measures should be taken against them, he said.