DALBIT is recklessly disregarding the regulation which prescribes that a minimum of 20 percent of fuel import contracts should be given to local transporters, the Petroleum Transporters Association Zambia (PTAZ) has charged.
But Dalbit country operations manager Francis Kahuki has disputed the claims by PTAZ, describing them as false as the company had been engaging local transporters in its supply chain.
PTAZ secretary general Benson Tembo yesterday said Dalbit had failed to meet contractual obligations and was jittery towards working with local transporters because it feared that its fleet of tankers will not give them any business if the locals were given the minimum 20 percent of the contracts.
Mr. Tembo said unlike the cordial relationship that existed with suppliers such as Trafigura, Dalbit was allegedly reluctant to work with Zambian transporters despite Government’s directive to engage local transporters.
He said Dalbit was scheduled to meet with Government and the PTAZ last week but the supplier changed the venue from Southern Sun as earlier arranged to another unknown venue and made it clear that it did not want to deal with the association but individual transporters. “Government’s position is that a minimum of 20 percent has been allocated to Zambians in the supply contract and that one is non-negotiable. Unfortunately the supplier, who is also the transporter, feels they might lose out if they give that 20 percent to Zambians.
“They are not being truthful and helpful to the Zambian transporters. You know, there isn’t much to transport in Zambia as transporters and our only hope and prayer was that we would get what rightfully belongs to us but it seems that Dalbit is so resolved that they will never help the Zambians,” Mr. Tembo said.
He said Dalbit management was adamant despite the contract presenting clear conditions that gave Zambians the privilege of being players in the importation of fuel in the country.
Mr Tembo said Government had done all it could to ensure that Zambian transporters benefited from fuel contracts into the country but the supplier had neglected to incorporate the interest of Government.
“It is not the first time that we, as an association, have been in confrontation with Dalbit. We have been talking to Dalbit for the past three years but it is clear that Dalbit is so resolved that they do not want to deal with Zambia transporters.
“We find it to be very strange. If we knew what was in the contract with Government, we would have acted because we are just being told that there is a minimum of 20 percent of the fuel transportation contracts that should go to local transporters,” he said.
But Mr. Kahuki said the allegations against Dalbit were unfounded because his company was dealing with local transporters in the transportation of fuel.
“It is not true. We have been engaging with the local transporters as a supplying company and so to say that we are side-lining them is not true,” Mr. Kahuki said.
But when pressed to clarify why Dalbit prevented PTAZ from attending the meeting last week, Mr. Kahuki referred all queries to the Ministry of Energy and Water Development.