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Petroleum Fund to introduce mobile filling stations

Business

Neo Matheka

The Petroleum Fund is introducing mobile filling stations to plug existing fuel supply shortages in the country.

This project was announced yesterday during a stakeholders’ forum held petroleum at Maseru Avani.

The plan is to start the project within six months.

Thato Mohasoa, the Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Fund, said the fuel supply shortage in the country was determined through a nationwide needs assessment exercise in 2020.

The exercise entailed undertaking a gap analysis to identify controls within the entire petroleum sector vale chain.

“The Petroleum Fund came to a realisation that there was a need to assess the extent of supply shortages of petroleum products in the country,” Mohasoa said.

“Following the assessment, necessary recommendations were made regarding corrective measures that could be undertaken, and in particular recommendations on projects that could be developed, particularly in the remote parts of the country, to mitigate supply challenges there,” he added.

Mohasoa said the objective of the project is also to create opportunities for investment and jobs for the local people.

“In rolling out the recommended projects, the Fund has in mind a two-pronged objective – that of ensuring the security of supply of petroleum products in the country, as well as creating opportunities for investment and jobs for the local people, which will also stimulate the country’s economy.

 â€œThe project is assumed to develop within a period of six months based on the procurement of containerised facilities and land development.”

He indicated that a number of stakeholders would be pivotal in ensuring the success of the project.

These included commercial banks, insurance companies, the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation, the Lesotho National Development Corporation, and the business community among others.

“These are institutions that we hope can serve as catalysts for financial intermediation for the successful roll-out of the mobile fillings stations ambition in Lesotho,” Mohasoa said.

Makhauta Fosa from the Ministry of Energy and Meteorology, said interested people must send their applications to the ministry.

“An applicant must submit a copy of the petroleum lease, design drawings of the station, a copy of business registration documents, record of decision/ environmental clearance, supply contract with an oil company licensed in Lesotho, building permit and certificate of occupancy.”

She also emphasised that an applicant is not allowed to operate more than one petroleum supplier.

On his part, Ackim Chirwa from Zambia said apart from being able to reach destitute places, they were easier to finance, safe, minimised installation costs and they make it cheaper to buy fuel and paraffin.

The Petroleum Fund undertook a study tour to Lusaka, Zambia, to visit some of the operators of mobile filling stations to appreciate first-hand, their operability, in order to introduce them in Lesotho.

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