By BENNIE MUNDANDO
THE showdown between Energy Minister, Mathew Nkhuwa and the Petroluem Transporters will be decided tomorrow as the association holds an emergency meeting to discuss among other things, the latter’s perceived interference in the awarding of contracts.
Mr Nkhuwa on the other hand has refuted claims that he was interfering in the awarding of contracts for companies to ferry the Saudi oil from Tanzania to Solwezi in Zambia.
The minister told a press briefing yesterday that allegations that he was interfering in the awarding of contracts to transporters to ferry fuel which government acquired from Saudi Arabia from Dar es salaam in Tanzania to Zambia were false as he was merely giving guidance.
Speaking during the weekly press briefing at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Mr Nkhuwa said that the 20 percent which was reserved for Zambian transporters was for all Zambians and not only those affiliated to the Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PETAZ).
He said any Zambian who had a registered truck qualified to transport the fuel.
But Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) says Mr. Nkhuwa is free to side with whichever transporters he felt like working with but that the local transporters and drivers will decide their next course of action after the meeting tomorrow after which a petition will be presented to him.
PTAZ president Rabson Malipenga said he did not see any reason why there must be a misunderstanding in agreeing who qualified to be an indigenous Zambian transporter but assured the minister that he will hear from them on Monday after the emergence meeting.
Mr. Malipenga wondered what had prompted Mr. Nkhuwa to think that the logical process in getting contracts was by transporters was by engaging directly with suppliers yet there were indigenous companies which Government aimed to empower to grow their capacities which currently cannot manage to stand on their own but have been benefiting from the association.