20th January, 2017
Department of Petroleum Supply,
Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development,
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST ILLEGAL PETROLEUM SUPPLY OPERATIONS.
We are a private organisation engaged in the business of fighting counterfeits and illicit supplies, promoting brand owner and consumer rights in Uganda and Africa generally using numerous approaches including advocacy, lobbying, market investigations, surveys, raids, and prosecution.
Our manpower is drawn from a multi-disciplinary base which ensures comprehensive and effective approaches and interventions. We therefore write to you in the public interest and for the benefit of millions of Ugandan consumers in respect of the above.
We have recently found that there are serious gaps in the enforcement of the regulation and licencing of petroleum supply in Uganda. This has been established by our covert investigation and survey in and around Kampala and some upcountry towns which made following alarming findings;
- Numerous petroleum filling stations operate without a registered trading name contrary to Regulation 6(3) of the Petroleum Supply (General Regulations), 2009. You cannot regulate a business without identity.
- Numerous petroleum filling stations operate without a petroleum operating Licence contrary to the mandatory provisions of Section 17(2) of the Petroleum Supply Act, 2003. We know this because we have had the benefit of viewing the current list of licenced operators.
- Numerous petroleum filling stations which are in a derelict state was set up without obtaining construction permits contrary to Section 17(1) of the Petroleum Supply Act, 2003 and the equipment/installations are not marked or labelled as required by Standard 9.1 and2 of the UNBS Standard US947-1:2011.
- Numerous petroleum filling stations are not operating within the required maintenance, storage, safety standards and coverage area in terms of location, distance from each other, handling and disposal of petroleum products etc. This is contrary to the Petroleum Supply Act, 2003 and Regulations thereunder and standards 4 and 9 of the aforementioned UNBS Standard.
- Numerous petroleum filling stations sell suspected adulterated fuel products which increases disease causing pollution. Our team was able to observe that as there are no quality assurance measures taken to safeguard supply contrary to the Petroleum (marking and quality control) Regulations, 2009.
We are available to discuss and share our findings with you.
The failure to enforce the laws regulating and licencing the sale of petroleum products in Uganda has been going on for a very long time. It is inexcusable that this should continue in a regulated industry at the expense of the environment, public health and safety.
As you know, petroleum products are volatile, highly combustible and inflammable, pose a very high risk of causing fire, sippage of dangerous waste to the environment etc. It is therefore important that standards and the laws enacted to avert these risks are strictly adhered to and enforced in order not to compromise public health, safety and the environment.
Further we note that allowing persons to operate without licences and permits is hurting significant investments in millions of dollars by genuine and licenced operators who employ thousands of Ugandans and contribute immensely to the National coffers. This also causes loss of public funds as it deprives Government of the much needed non tax and tax revenue.
Under the Petroleum Supply Act, 2003, you are charged with the responsibility of;
- Supervising, controlling and ensuring compliance with the said Act and other applicable laws, standards and codes of practice.[See Section 7(1)]
- Implementing an effective licencing system for the supply operations of petroleum.[See Section 7(2)(b)].
- Organising, implementing and coordinating the monitoring process of the operations, installations and participants in the supply chain.[See Section7(2)(e)].
Further under Section 7(2)(g) of the Petroleum Supply Act, 2003, you are required to;
‘ Create and implement, effective and adequate procedures to receive and resolve without undue delay, all inquiries and complaints by other government agencies, by consumers, recognised consumer organisations or participants in the supply chain operations and installations or the quality ,quantity or prices of petroleum products distributed in Uganda or sold in Uganda.’
We contend that on the evidence of our investigations and survey, you are not properly discharging your public duty to the detriment of Ugandans.
The purpose of this letter therefore, is to demand as we hereby do that you do the following;
- Issue a Public Notice to be published in newspapers of wide circulation in Uganda;
- Directing all illegal operators to forthwith cease and desist from operating;
- Warning and cautioning the public against consumption of illicit petroleum supplies.
- Take visible steps to shut down and prosecute non complying illegal operators.
- Ensure strict implementation of the National Petroleum information system which consists of an integrated centralised database and information system covering all petroleum supply operations etc to avoid illicit operations going undetected.
We believe that the issue at hand needs urgent and unwavering attention and accordingly, if we are not favoured with a response by 31st of January, 2017, we shall not hesitate to commence various public interest legal actions against you personally and the Government of the Uganda to redress the dire situation.
Please expect no reminder!
DIRECTOR, CORPORATE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS
ANTI COUNTERFEIT NETWORK LTD
C.C: The Executive Director, Uganda National Bureau of Standards
C.C: Commissioner Occupation Health Safety
C.C: The Executive Director, NEMA