By Silvia Nyambura
The current low taxes on kerosene are encouraging greedy fuel dealers to mix kerosene with petrol so as to widen their profit margins, at the cost of the customer and the customer’s machines, especially vehicles.To minimize on the vice, Ivan Kyayonka, Vivo Energy Managing Director has called for a selection of measures that among others includes uniform taxation for all fuel products and then have the proceeds used to subsidize rural electrification and solar projects for rural areas.
Kyayonka who was speaking during the inauguration of the upgraded fuel laboratory at Vivo Energy’s 7th Street Industrial Area offices, said that for most vehicles, a mix of up to 20 percent of kerosene with either petrol or diesel mix will keep the vehicle moving, but will slowly kill it.
“We believe the removal of the excise duty on kerosene is the greatest motivation for unscrupulous people to mix petrol with kerosene and sell it to unsuspecting customers and the government needs to put counter measures in place to deal with this issue,” he said adding: “Customers who care about their engines and are mindful of the integrity of the products that go into them and the company that supplies these products should trust our service stations,” he said.
Over 200 people including ministry of energy officials, UNBS officials, Shell marshals, fuel dealers and transporters among others participated in the tour and had an opportunity to test fuel in the upgraded laboratory, which has been equipped with state of the art technological equipment.
The upgrading of the laboratory, says Kyayonka, is in line with the Shell global standards of providing quality products, being mindful of people’s health, security and the environment on top of paying revenue to the government.
The upgraded laboratory meets the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and the EAC standardization and is aimed at ensuring that any Vivo product going on the Ugandan market is standard. The company’s upgraded laboratory, he adds, was set up to ensure consumers are protected from substandard products in the market and enhance public knowledge of Shell’s superior fuels, lubricants and elaborate product quality control mechanisms.
Importantly, other players in the sector can make use of the facility to test their products. The facility is the only fuel testing laboratory in the country besides the one managed by Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS). The UNBS Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo, also speaking at the event, said the petroleum industry should be a highly controlled sector if it is to be successful in dealing with the issue of adulteration.
“The sector should not only work to maintain high Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) standards but also protect the consumer. UNBS currently has four (4) mobile laboratories which were recently upgraded with GPS systems to help monitor movement and the credibility of the products surveyed in the said laboratories,” he said, adding: “Two of our mobile laboratories are based in Kampala owing to the huge consumption of fuel in the capital while the other two are based in the rural areas. The GPS systems therefore, ensure we can monitor the movement of these facilities.”
The head of Petroleum Products Quality Assurance at the ministry of Energy Mr. Spero Byokunda called for the continued monitoring of fuel dealers in the market to streamline the market.
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