Petroleum transporters walkout of ERB meeting in protest

Petrotech Oil Corporation
Petrotech Oil Corporation

There was drama at the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) public hearing in Lusaka this morning when the Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) walked out of the hearing in protest of the agenda of the meeting.
The PTAZ was due to make the initial submission at the hearing organized in view of the association’s recent action against licensing of foreign fuel tankers by the ERB.

Speaking to journalists shortly after justifying his association’s boycotting of the public hearing, Association spokesperson Benson Tembo described the public hearing as a sham stating that it was against the provisions of the ERB Act.

Mr. Mr. Tembo, who was flanked by PTAZ president Roberto Sabbadin, says by holding the public hearing, the ERB is allegedly trying to hijack the objections his association submitted against the licensing of Superstar Forwarders Zambia Limited, Unitrans Zambia Limited and Zambulk Tankers Limited during a similar public hearing hosted by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA).

He says his association has however withdrawn is objections against Zambulk Tankers Limited because its shareholding has put into consideration the interest of Zambians.

Mr. Tembo says his association which is demanding the dismissal of the entire ERB Executive, will now wait for Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma to correct the situation failure to which they will suspend operations.

But in its submission to the public hearing that continued in absence of the PTAZ representation, Superstars Forwarders Zambia Limited through their lawyer Anthony Kasolo of MSK advocates submitted that the complaint by the PTAZ has no basis at law.

Mr. Kasolo has argued that this is because Superstars Forwarders Zambia Limited has not contravened any provisions of the ERB Act nor conditions of the License it was granted.

He has also backed his argument with Section 16 of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act No. 24 of 2010 which obliges enterprises at all times to refrain from any act or conduct that actually limits access to markets or otherwise unduly restrain competition like PTAZ is trying to do.

Meanwhile Unitrans Zambia Limited Director Musenga Musukwa seconded the arguments by Superstars Forwarders Zambia Limited and dismissed PTAZ’s objections as only a sign of fear of competition.

Mr. Musukwa says his company equally has not contravened any provisions of the ERB Act.

( Tuesday 14th October 2014 )