Fuel hoarding not welcome- CUTS International

Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS)-International applauds the decision taken by the Zambia Competition Commission’s (ZCC) to probe the extent to which Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are engaged in the alleged hoarding of fuel.

There has been recent speculation that OMCs may be hoarding fuel on cheaper days to make more money from consumers when prices increase and for the past few days, there have been long queues of motorists at filling stations where fuel was made available due to the recent shortage that has hit the country.

CUTS-International feels that a major drive to curb fuel hoarding and scarcity nationwide needs to be undertaken as this if not checked will greatly lead to consumers being denied a service they need. This will ultimately also lead to economic development being stalled as productivity is affected by consumers failing to report for work, as well as machines not being used for production due to non availability of fuel.

It is also worth mentioning that the high disparity of fuel prices between fuel supply to industries and household consumers is one of the main factors stimulating illegal fuel hoarding by hoarders for their personal profit. It is therefore worth mentioning that there is need to bridge this gap if the ultimate users of this commodity are to benefit.

Lastly, there is also need to enhance the hand of ZCC so that instant punishment can be meted to those abrogating competition and consumer regulations by engaging in anti-competitive practices. ZCC also has to ensure that the regulator ERB strongly protects the rights of consumers. It is in this regard that CUTS continues to urge government to quickly expedite the enactment process of a comprehensive Competition and Consumer Welfare policy that will give ZCC enough powers to deal with such cases.