Dar es Salaam. Energy Minister January Makamba on Tuesday outlined eight measures that the government is planning to take to address the ongoing fuel crisis that continues to wreak havoc on many economies globally, including that of Tanzania.
Mr Makamba’s announcement was preceded by that of President Samia Suluhu Hassan who told Tanzanians on Monday via the national address that the government has heard citizens’ concerns about the increasing cost of living, directing Mr Makamba to outline measures to be taken to alleviate pains stemming from the fuel price hike.
The measures announced by Mr Makamba include the establishment of an Sh100 billion fuel subsidy programme, which will be released before the starting of the next financial year of 2022/2023.
The fund will be generated by reducing government expenditures in the remaining period of the previous financial year, Makamba said, pointing out that the release of the money will not affect the ongoing development projects currently under implementation.
Another measure that the government will take is allowing people with the interest and capacity to import petroleum products into Tanzania to do so as suggested earlier by others, including members of parliament.
Mr Makamba also said the government has bought the idea of establishing a fuel price stabilization fund, which many stakeholders, including lawmakers, have repeatedly suggested since the crisis started.
Other measures that the government is planning to take are to establish national strategic petroleum reserves; establish a petroleum hub; and establish a single receiving terminal through the Tanzania International Petroleum Reserves Limited (TIPER) warehouses.
The government will also improve the capacity of the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) so that it can be able to trade petroleum products, a practice it had stopped doing for 20 years.
Mr Makamba also said the government will improve the efficiency of its institutions responsible for regulating petroleum products in Tanzania, including the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) and the Petroleum Bulk Procurement Agency (PBPA).
“These measures will be elaborated on in detail and lawmakers will have the opportunity to share their views and their advice on them in the coming three weeks during the tabling of the budget of the ministry of energy,” Mr Makamba told the parliament.
The Bumbuli MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM) said that despite the price hike, the management of the petroleum sector has been stable in Tanzania and done in a very careful manner.
“This is not accidental,” Mr Makamba said. “It is thanks to deliberate efforts taken by the government in close collaboration with the private sector.”
According to him, the fuel price hike is undoubtedly a tragedy but the greatest national security danger lies in the absence of fuel altogether.
“As a country, we have not reached that stage,” Mr Makamba said assuredly. “As we speak, we have the amount of diesel enough to cater for our needs for 27 days. Petrol for 34 days. Kerosene for 81 days. And aviation gasoline for 26 days.”