Illegal fuel smuggling continues

The Namibian police from the Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions are in talks with the ministry of mines and energy on how to combat the smuggling of illegal fuel from Angola.

17 June 2021 | Local News

Tunohole Mungoba







OSHIKANGO

The ministry of mines and energy, in collaboration with the Namibian police and relevant stakeholders in the fuel industry, held a meeting this week in Oshikango to discuss how to stop the illegal smuggling of fuel from Angola to Namibia and to assess the damage done to the economy.

Northern businessman Joshuwa Mwetupunga, who spoke on behalf of fuel dealers in Namibia, said they want government to do away with fuel levies, taxes and duties, which, in turn, will make fuel more competitive to the Angolan market.

“If all levies are waivered, this will bring the total price per litre for unleaded petrol to N$10.23,” he said.

“Every fuel gauge of each vehicle going in and out of Angola must be checked as smugglers use this as one of the ways to smuggle fuel. We further demand an additional 50c per litre on top of the current dealer margin of N$1.10 going forward to support entrepreneurs who are site owners as they borrowed money to fund capital costs.”

However, mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo disagreed with removing the levies as “it is not supported by the ministry of mines, and other entities as well”.

He further explained that all fuel produced in SADC is set to a certain standard to ensure its quality.

“The fuel from Angola is not refined to this standard so they do not spend as much compared to Namibia. They also do not add any levies to this fuel and that is what makes it so cheap compared to our fuel. This is where this illegal market started,” he said.

He added that this illegal syndicate is causing harm to the Namibian economy as petrol stations in the Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions do not make as much profit and will soon close their doors.

Winning the war

“After numerous consultations, we have a few recommendations to win this war. Firstly, we want to implement that buyers of fuel provide receipts that prove they have bought their fuel legally. We will then also introduce regulated quantities and carrier containers as well. Lastly, we will look at introducing stricter fines,” Alweendo said.

Inspector General of the Namibian police, Sebastian Ndeitunga, said the police have established posts and ambushes alongside the Namibia-Angola borders to control and prevent illegal crossing of people into Namibia.

“However, public members from both countries still find ways to cross contraband over as the Angolans have established smuggling networks in Namibia.”

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