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TBS takes over fuel marking task

Tuesday May 04 2021
TBS PIC
By Alfred Zacharia

Dar es Salaam. The government said yesterday that the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has officially taken over the task of fuel marking from a private firm in a move that seeks to save on costs.

The Citizen understands that TBS is marking the fuel using one of the best security technologies in the world.

Fuel marking is the introduction of a unique identifier (marker) in trace quantities into petroleum products at depots before distribution in the market.

Markers are used to guarantee product integrity, as well as protect against counterfeiting, adulteration and tax fraud.

Industry and Trade minister Prof Kitila Mkumbo said yesterday that TBS started conducting the fuel marking exercise a few days ago in Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara.

The issue regarding fuel marking came up strongly in Parliament during the debate of the 2021/22 budget of the Prime Minister’s Office last month when Energy minister, Dr Medard Kalemani, told the House that the government had terminated the contract with the company that was conducting the fuel marking exercise.

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He, however, did not tell who had been given the task of marking the fuel after termination of the contract.

But speaking during his tour of TBS offices yesterday, Prof Mkumbo told journalists that it was TBS that was conducting the exercise.

“TBS is officially the national fuel marker and it has already started the operations in three regions. I am confident that it will operate competently and efficiently for the benefits of the country and its people,” he noted.

He noted that TBS has been instructed to recruit skilled people who will be conducting the exercise. “We may lack sufficient staff at the time, but I have directed the TBS to recruit skilled people and continue training their current ones to fill the gap,” he noted.

The debate on fuel marking in Parliament was instigated by a statement by Gairo lawmaker Ahmed Shabiby (CCM) who said Tanzanians were paying exorbitantly for fuel marking.

Mr Shabiby said Tanzanians were paying Sh17 on every litre of petroleum products they buy due to corrupt elements within the network of those entrusted with the management of the petroleum quality standards.

“Fuel marking has created a conflict that at one point forced you, Mr Speaker, to dissolve a Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals… At one point, they [the corruption elements] wanted to come to school [bribe] you - but you sent them away. That’s why you should know there are a lot of thieves in this sector….,” said Mr Shabiby. He alleged that even some MPs had been openly receiving bribes so that they defend the thieving.

“And, today, that investor is making between Sh5 billion and Sh7 billion each month from fuel marking…,” he said, suggesting that the amount was very high and that if the exercise was to be conducted by the TBS, the revenue could be spent on developing rural infrastructure.

Mr Shabiby’s statement reminds pundits of how companies have been scrambling for the tender to undertake fuel marking in Tanzania during the past few months.

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