By BENNIE MUNDANDO
A CRACKDOWN on Zambian tankers has continued in Tanzania as 10 trucks were on Friday impounded by that country’s revenue authority on account that they were over-length and were only released after owners paid a penalty fee of US$50 for each for what it terms as abnormal loading.
Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) secretary general Benson Tembo yesterday told the Sunday Nation that Tanzanian authorities had come up with another charge against Zambian tankers where they were forced to pay US$25 each as they are considered abnormal loads because of the size of the trailers which are longer than those from that country’s trucks.
Mr. Tembo said more surcharges have continued to be slapped on Zambian tankers in Tanzania to discourage them from entering that country as a deterrent measure to promote their companies so that they exclusively deal with the Zambian Government over fuel haulage.
He said as if the E-seal initiative where Zambian drivers were being charged for overstaying in that country if their documents were not processed on time by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), more loopholes had been identified aimed at discouraging Zambian transporters from entering Tanzania.
He complained that despite being contracted by the Zambian government as fuel suppliers to transport volumes of the commodity from Dar-Es-Salaam to TAZAMA depots in Zambia, Government had turned a blind eye to the challenges facing its own drivers in Tanzania.
He said the only way Zambia could safeguard the interests of its drivers who were at the mercy of the Tanzanian authorities was by reciprocating the same measures on Tanzanian tanker drivers.
“Our Government institutions can easily reciprocate most of these measures to stop this rot but there is too much inertia from our agencies. What would stop ZRA to start charging Tanzanian truckers on late acquittals? What stops ZRA from introducing E-seals in reciprocity to their counterparts?
“What stops RDA to reciprocate? What stops the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) to act on the worst Tanzanian tankers traversing the Zambian territory? We don’t want to pick up quarrels with our agencies but surely their silence and inertia is too loud to ignore,” he said.