Ongwediva-The Ministry of Mines and Energy has cautioned the public against so-called backyard filling stations that are on an increase at Oshikango, saying the fuel could damage engines of Namibian vehicles.
The fuel also poses a risk to the environment, Simeon Negumbo has warned. His warning comes weeks after reports of booming sales of Angolan smuggled fuel via un-gazetted border point entries at Oshikango.
Although it has not been established whether the smuggled fuel meets the prescribed standard, the ministry believes it could potentially be blended with harmful products. “Those who are responsible should stop this illegal practise. The smuggled fuel is not verified in terms of quality and there might be a risk that it can damage vehicles,” Negumbo warned.
He further warned that improper handling and fuelling of the vehicles could be extremely dangerous. “There is also a high risk of spill during this improper handling of fuel. The spilled fuel can filtrate into the soil and cause groundwater contamination,” Negumbo noted.
He advised that such potential dangers to both humans and the environment can be reduced if the public fill their cars at recognised service stations. Negumbo further warned that there is also a high likelihood the smuggled fuel has a lower flashpoint, making it more susceptible to explosions.
The ministry hence appealed to key stakeholders – the police and border control officers – to work together and aid the ministry in curbing the illicit practice. The ministry further warned the perpetrators that smuggling fuel and any other products is illegal and punishable by law and such activities should be reported to the police.
The sale of smuggled Angolan fuel is actually N$0.80 more expensive than the local fuel, which is sold at N$11.19 cents per litre. Nonetheless, the smugglers continue to attract customers because they are said to be more flexible with their prices and are prepared to give discounts. The smuggled Angolan fuel is sold in five-litre containers that cost N$60 each.