THE Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has said that illegal fuel vending is depriving the Government of resources through theft of petroleum products and non-payment of taxes.
ERB public relations manager Kwali Mfuni said the country has continued to lose revenue due to lost income from taxes on fuel as a result of illegal sale of the commodity.
Ms Mfuni said in an interview that the ERB had constituted a committee comprising relevant Government agencies to conduct inspections in areas prone to the vice on the Copperbelt.
The committee included the Zambia Police, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).
The energy regulator was currently fighting illegal fuel vending because the safety of products sourced from illegal fuel vendors could not be guaranteed.
“Illegal fuel vending deprives Government of the much needed resources through the theft of petroleum products and non-payment of taxes,” she said.
It was illegal for any person or entity to establish or operate a business in petroleum products without being licensed by the ERB.
Ms Mfuni said due to the inherently flammable nature of petroleum products, illegal fuel vending posed a danger because of improper storage and handling by the vendors.
She said the vendors operated outside the law with little or no regard to safety, health and environmental protection requirements.
Ms Mfuni appealed to motorists to desist buying from the illegal fuel vendors as they risked damaging their vehicles.
“Motorists should only buy fuel from licensed filling stations for guaranteed quality and safety. That way, they would have recourse in the event of a problem arising on their motor vehicle or equipment due to contaminated fuel,” she said.