Release accurate information on the fuel crisis- CUTS International

Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International would like to commend the Zambia Competition Commission (ZCC) for investigating Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and bringing out the findings that OMCs are no hoarding fuel. ZCC’s findings and analysis review that OMCs are not withholding fuel stocks but the problem is further up stream. Zambia is rationing fuel following a shortage. This has caused a common feature of long queues of motorists amid panic of buying the commodity across the country. It is in this regard that CUTS-International call upon government to provide accurate and consistent information on why this situation has persisted.

By not giving correct and accurate information in tells that the Government is violating the UN charter on consumer rights which explicitly highlights that consumers have got the right to correct and accurate information. CUTS further takes this opportunity to urge both government to take issues relating to consumers seriously. Be reminded that Consumers have got the right information and the right to the commodity.

Fuel shortages should be taken seriously as it has serious implications on the economy as productivity and man hours are lost due to mobility issues. The fuel shortage has worsened in this country as motorists, particularly commercial drivers are queuing up at dawn at the limited filling stations with the essential commodity because if they do not refill the vehicles, most people including school going children who are the majority will not be able to reach their various destinations.

Such a situation brings anxiety in that nation. It is with reason that we call upon government to call for a round table meeting which should include consumers, regulators and CSOs such as CUTS and other consumer advocate organisation to come and discuss this situation and find long term measures in both information dissemination and availability of the commodity.

Lastly CUTS feels that it was time government sought to find other alternatives such as having another refinery company which will help reduce the works load Indeni is facing. There is also need to critically look at the up stream distribution chain of the commodity ranging from procurement, transportation, refinery and storage and highlight the bottlenecks which this chain holds.