Road accidents are a global phenomenon which the Geneva based World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO) sees as a major crisis which more often than not results in human deaths, miming and loss of property.
For all practical purposes, road accidents are unpredictable, although they can in most cases be avoided, mainly by complying with road safety guidelines and directives.
As the problem seems to be growing with the passage of time, various nobble minded companies and other institutions continually devise strategies which are intended to reduce road accidents in Tanzania as a matter of course, thus minimizing their tragic results.
The Dar es Salaam-based Puma Energy Tanzania (‘Puma’ for short) is one of the leading fuel companies in the country which has seriously taken up the matter.
In this regard, the company has been addressing the issue of road safety in its generality, as outlined in the following exclusive interview with Company’s Managing Director, Dominic Dhanah; the campaign on road safety should be intensified to further minimize road accidents in terms of number of accidents, casualties and property losses.
As a major fuels company in in Tanzania and across the world: what are you doing to ensure road safety every which way?
As one of the major oil companies in the country, we offer a comprehensive range of products and services to our customers and communities in general across the country. When it comes to the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Puma’s flagship campaign is on road safety, mainly focusing on road safety education for one and all including especially children.
We started this campaign started in ten countries in Africa where the Puma Energy group of companies operate, including Tanzania. In summary: we conduct road safety training, print and distribute booklets and fliers on the matter, which usually contain road safety education for drivers and road users including especially ‘motorcycle taxi’ operators, popularly known as ‘Boda bodas.’
So far, we have trained over 125,000 children across Tanzania in road safety measures and that number is growing. The company’s plan is to continue supporting the government in general, and the traffic police in particular, in curbing recklessness on public roads by drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and other road users.
How does the company cooperate with the government and other stakeholders in addressing the road safety challenges?
Puma Energy Tanzania is cooperating with the President John Magufuli government through the Traffic Police Division, usually by publishing book-lets and fliers on road safety, which are distributed to all road users and citizens in general to enable them understand their duty and responsibility to avoid and otherwise reduce road accidents.
What would you say regarding Tanzania’s current policy and regulatory frameworks on road safety? Are they adequate – or do they need revisiting?
The current statutory frameworks reinforce road safety. However, there is always room for improvements especially taking into consideration new challenges that come with development of science and technology, and which need to be functionally addressed.
In all fairness, it must be said that the government and the Traffic Police are doing great work in implementing the extant law. But, there also is always the need to ensure that the law is followed to the letter in the spirit in efforts to curb road accidents on a sustainable basis. Indeed, all those who are man-dated to implement the law must do so in strict but fair manner.
Do you see any loophole(s) in aware-ness-raising campaigns in Tanzania in the area of road safety?
The demand for public campaigns to promote road safety will always be there, and the government is doing its share. But, other stakeholders must also play their part to the hilt in complementing government, always ensuring that we surmount the challenges of road safety – including especially those which emanate from lack of awareness of the laws and best practices.
What are the initiatives which have been put in place by Puma Energy in stressing and enhancing adherence to road safety guidelines and directives, pray?
Puma has spearheaded campaigns on road safety for school children who are the future of the nation. We believe that we have to mold these young boys and girls when they are still young so that they can grow up be responsible adults. It is crucial that people adhere to road safety regulations by maintaining the highest standards of road safety, and continually stress compliance with the country’s regulations and laws pertaining to road safety.
We at Puma Energy always ensure that our employees especially drivers and contractors – comply fully with the letter and spirit of the law. We are also cooperating with the government entities which are responsible for road safety to raise awareness among road users and communities at large.
How do you differentiate yourself from others in dealing with road safety issues?
As is the case now, we are the leading oil company in championing road safety in Tanzania and across Africa. In keeping with our motto ‘Energizing Communities,’ we will continue to energize our communities with appropriate knowledge and support on road safety. We will also continue to support the government by assisting it with raising road safety awareness among school-children and communities at large.
Where do you aspire to be after five-to-ten years to come from now?
As Puma Energy, we would like to see number of accidents in the country being significantly minimized in the next five years and that schoolchildren are given road safety education across the country.
We would also like to see Tanzania as one of the countries where road safety education is spread to the extent that everybody understands what road safety means – and they routinely comply with the road safety rules, resulting in zero road accidents across the country.
What are the achievements if any of your company in the area of road safety in Tanzania so far?
Since we started the road safety campaigns for schoolchildren in 2014, there have been very positive developments. For instance: from 2014 to-date, the number of road incidents has substantial gone down in the areas that we trained. More than 125,000 schoolchildren were trained during that period, and who just as soon showed good performance in adhering to the road safety guidelines given to them. Not only that; road accidents have largely gone down as well.
These positive developments make Puma Energy very proud of its contribution to road safety in Tanzania.
Anything to share with other of Tanzanians regarding the company?
Puma Energy is the leading Oil Marketing Company in Tanzania in terms of market share. Our purposeful objective is ‘Energising Communities’ in everything that we do. The company offers quality products, fuels and lubricants, as attested to by international organizations such as SGS and Intertek. Puma Energy Tanzania is ISO certified which sends a clear message to the market and general public that quality is our number one priority. Also, environmental protection is at the heart of everything that we do.
The company is an approved distributor of Castrol lubricants, a high quality brand in the world for all operational segments, namely: mining, transport, construction, industries, etc. We are well known in this market for best customer experience, excellence, safely, timely handling and delivery of petroleum products.
We pride ourselves in delighting our customers. The company has always been competitive in all areas, engaging in fair business practices while putting the customer at the center of everything we do.