Zera seeks Act amendment | The Chronicle
Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) is seeking an amendment to the Petroleum Act to tighten penalties for illegal possession and dealing in petroleum products.
The existing legislation presently provides for the establishment of the Petroleum Regulatory Authority whose function is to license and regulate operations in the petroleum industry.
Speaking in Bulawayo on the side-lines of a legal coaching workshop organised by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police on Tuesday, Zera head of petroleum infrastructure, Engineer Andrew Guri, said they have found loopholes in the existing Act which need to be addressed through an amendment. He told Business Chronicle that a new bill was being finalised and would be taken to Parliament soon.
“From our current enforcement activities we have identified a number of loopholes and gaps in the existing laws. So we are now trying to address those issues like levels of fines and penalties. These are some of the aspects we are looking at,” said Eng Guri.
He said Zera was working closely with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to curb fuel smuggling and enact stiffer penalties. Eng Guri said the regulator had proposed to come up with fuel marking to identify the branding of fuel and to trace its origins.
“Fuel marking is a proposal that is put forward to try and address the identification or branding of fuel. This is so that we can be able to trace the origins of fuel and to put some accountability in the fuel value chain.
“Fuel marking ensures that fuel is legitimately procured and declared correctly at the border post,” said Eng Guri.
Zimra is on record as saying that fuel smuggling is rampant and estimates that potential revenue running into millions of dollars is being lost through false and under declaration of imported fuel to avoid paying duty. Responding to questions from stakeholders regarding the high cost of fuel in the country, Eng Guri attributed this to high taxes and duty on fuel. He, however, said engagements were on with the Ministry of Finance to review the prices.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Mandlenkosi Sibanda said as law enforcement agents they were not equipped with information from Zera on how to deal with illegal selling of fuel.
The workshop was attended by stakeholders from the legal fraternity and police.
if fuel is readily available at regional rates then why would anyone smuggle it in. but because its very expensive at the pump and scarce then it makes for good business for the smuggler
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