Dar es Salaam. The Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura) has suspended operations at three filling stations and put another 16 under investigation over illegal trading practices.
Ewura has accused some businessmen of hoarding the precious liquid at a time when it is in high demand.
Two fuel filling stations, Camel Oil in Msamvu, Morogoro Regtion, and Matmeba in Turiani, also in Morogoro, have been suspended for six months over the allegations.
Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Ewura attributed the penalties to some traders hoarding fuel in the reservoirs and some deliberately delaying delivery to the stations.
Ewura director general James Andilile said: "We have discovered that some wholesalers have fuel in their reservoirs but refuse to supply it. For example, GBP, which has a license to supply fuel wholesale but its stations do not have the liquid."
As a result, the regulatory authority decided to close, for an unspecified amount of time, one of the GBP fuel filling stations in Tabora Region. Ewura has also threatened to close any other fuel station that would not sell fuel without any justifiable reason.
He said such fuel stations could face closure for up to six months.
"We have other fuel stations, about 16, which we are continuing to investigate in accordance with the law, and if we are satisfied that they have violated the law, rules, and operating procedures, we will close them," explained Andilile.
The director issued a warning that he will take legal action against them in accordance with the law if it is proven that they are holding fuel contrary to the procedures, be they fuel station, the owners of the storage facility, or fuel importers that they have licensed.
In a move to calm the jitters and fears of an inadequate fuel supply, Ewura assured that Tanzania has adequate fuel despite shutting down some businesses and fuel stations.
Ewura said that around 97 million litres of fuel are presently aboard ships that have arrived at the port of Dar es Salaam, ready for offloading.
"There is a ship called MT. Ellie Lady with about 58 million litres of diesel for local use that arrived on August 29, 2023. It started unloading the fuel on September 3 and is expected to finish unloading on September 10."
“There’s also another ship, MT. Emma Grace, which has a total of 17.2 million litres of petrol. It arrived on August 29, 2023, and is expected to unload the fuel on September 8 and finish the exercise on September 12.
"The last ship is MT. High Tide, which has 22.3 million litres of petrol. It’s expected to start unloading fuel on September 12 and finish on September 16, 2023," Andilile said.
He insisted that Tanzania has fuel to last 19 days, adding that more ships with fuel will continue to arrive until October 31, 2023, according to the arrangement agreed in the Bulk Procurement System (BPS).