TBS spokesperson Neema Mtemvu said in Dar es Salaam last week that there are 15 outlets in Dar es Salaam, two in Mtwara and one in Tanga where the exercise is being undertaken by local experts. “We are already on the ground and doing the job as directed by the government recently,” Mtemvu said.
She said TBS has both the personnel and equipment to execute the work which needs sophisticated machinery to identify counterfeit marking enzymes which cheating transit fuel transporters may use to avoid tax payment.
“I can assure you that we are well positioned to implement the government’s directive,” she assured as reports on the ground said TBS may not have the technology needed to identify fuel which has been marked by fake enzymes.
Sources at Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority told The Guardian last week that TBS has not deployed specialised machines needed to identify counterfeits hence allowing cheating oil marketing companies and transporters to dump transit fuel in the local market without paying taxes.
“These machines are very expensive as they fetch between U$60 and 70,000 (over 150m/-) each and GFI had at least six of them to stop counterfeits,” a source at Ewura said saying the authority has not received any equipment from TBS for verification before deployment to the field for operations.
Meanwhile, Tanzania Association of Oil Marketing Companies’ CEO, Raphael Mgaya said last week that the decision to take away the role from GFI will only make sense if things improve on the ground.
“Our greatest concern today is the level of services by TBS. We would like to know the technology that TBS is using and we also want to know the cost, whether there will be a reduction in costs given the recent understanding that costs by the GFI was twice as much compared to the bidder who won the tender but lost on appeal at PPRA,” Mgaya said.
He pointed out that stakeholders in the industry expect to see TBS performing at high standards so that the exercise runs smoothly. “We also expect TBS to be, not only cost effective but as efficient as possible to prevent any possible hiccups in the industry,” he noted.
A fortnight ago, the government ordered TBS to take over the fuel marking technology exercise after Energy Minister, Dr Medard Kalemani made an impromptu visit at Dar es Salaam Port fuel terminal and found tankers belonging to Camel Oil loading unmarked fuel destined for the local market.
Dr Kalemani suspended two officials from TBS and Ewura for failing to supervise the exercise properly which led to loss of government revenue. “I am ordering Ewura and TBS to follow up all fuel which has entered the market without being marked,” Dr Kalemani said.
The Minister’s visit followed debate in parliament which was provoked by Gairo lawmaker, Ahmed Shabiby who suggested that the government should assign the role to TBS to save consumers from paying hefty prices for the service currently being offered by the GFI consortium which charged 14/- per litre for the service.