WE will not sit back and watch the business that we fought so hard for going back into the hands of foreigners, the Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) has warned.
And PTAZ has also warned Government to watch out for Tanzanian businessmen coming into the country to register their firms as local transporters in order to benefit from the 20 percent fuel import contracts reserved for Zambians.
Association secretary general Benson Tembo has further accused the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) of aiding foreign companies to establish themselves in Zambia based on unproven financial pledges which the agency does not even follow up to ensure they were fulfilled.
Mr. Tembo told the Daily Nation that after Government put its foot down and helped local transporters to benefit from the 20 percent contracts from suppliers, some foreign businessmen have regrouped and were registering their tankers in the name of Zambian transporters in order to start ferrying petroleum products into the country so that they benefitted from the 20 percent contracts reserved for Zambians.
He said the Tanzanian transporters were ‘‘courting trouble if they did not desist from their manipulations’’ because local businessmen would not watch them benefit from what they fought for.
He said after local transporters won a prolonged battle with fuel suppliers to honour their 20 percent share, Tanzanian businessmen had been temporarily pushed out of business as most of the contracts were given to Zambian companies but that foreign companies were now registering as local transporters to cheat the Government.
He, however, warned that such manoeuvres would be resisted by local transporters who were not ready to go back to the situation where foreigners dominated the sector.
“After fighting for a long time over the 20 percent fuel importation contracts entitled to us from the suppliers and our businesses were back on track, Tanzanians have again come back. This time they are registering their firms as Zambian transporters because they also want to benefit from the fuel imports through the deal between our Government and the suppliers but we would like to warn them that we will not accept any such behaviour because we know them,” Mr Tembo said.
He has accused ZDA of aiding foreign companies to establish themselves in Zambia based on unproven financial pledges which the Agency does not even follow up to ensure they were fulfilled.
“ZDA is a let-down. How do you register companies on the premise of pledges? Many are the times we have heard companies coming to Zambia and make pledges of investments but how often do they go back to check if such companies meet the benchmarks they set when they came into the country in the name of investors?
“It is so disgusting that foreign companies are given so much freedom which locals are not accorded, all in the name of foreign direct investment, yet these people are coming to milk the country of its resources and externalising profits,” he said.