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LP gas vendors arrested

by Staff reporter
23 Oct 2023 at 06:14hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has reported the arrest and conviction of a minimum of 80 illegal vendors of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP gas) since the start of the year, along with the confiscation of more than 60 orphan cylinders. This development has occurred in the backdrop of a notable increase in LP gas-related accidents, prompting concerns from legitimate retailers about the proliferation of roadside and backyard LP gas filling stations.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has taken action against these unauthorized LP gas retailers, issuing over 40 citations, particularly targeting the clandestine outlets commonly found in residential areas.

Engineer Andrew Guri, the head of the petroleum department at ZERA, explained that, of the more than 40 licensed LP gas wholesalers, 25 were found to be supplying gas to unlicensed retailers and were issued a final warning. Measures were implemented to ensure that these wholesalers exclusively dealt with 48kg cylinders belonging to them and did not fill other 48kg cylinders without the brand owner's consent.

Eng Guri emphasized that wholesalers who supplied gas to unlicensed vendors could face the revocation of their licenses, underscoring the commitment to ensuring adherence to all regulations. In addition, fines ranging from US$50 to US$600 were imposed, and a review of LP gas regulations was initiated to facilitate compliance, with the draft review of Statutory Instrument 57 now nearly 90 percent complete.

Under the Petroleum (Liquefied Petroleum Gases) Regulations, as stipulated in Statutory Instrument 57 of 2014, LPG wholesale and retail activities are permitted solely for companies holding ZERA licenses and possessing approved physical facilities authorized by relevant local authorities, fire departments, and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

For retailers seeking to obtain or renew licenses, compliance requires obtaining a hazardous substances handling certificate from EMA. Mrs. Amkela Sidange, EMA's environmental education and publicity manager, indicated that the agency conducts periodic compliance inspections and raids to ensure adherence. EMA collaborates with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and other relevant departments in intensive joint operations aimed at curbing illegal LP gas retailing and upholding compliance by licensed LPG retailers.

Members of the public are encouraged to alert EMA and law enforcement agencies if they suspect the sale of LP gas or any hazardous substance without a license. Such vigilance is in place to safeguard public safety and protect the environment.

According to Statutory Instrument 268 of 2018, the transportation, storage, sale, and use of hazardous substances, including LP gas, necessitate a license from ZERA.

The chief executive officer of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Association of Zimbabwe, Mr. Robert Mandeya, stressed the need to intensify efforts against LP gas wholesalers who supply gas to unregistered entities, citing them as contributors to the black market.

Licensed LP gas retailer Mr. Godfrey Madanha expressed his concerns about the intense competition posed by the growing number of illegal filling stations. He emphasized the importance of a level playing field for professional traders who have invested in the necessary infrastructure.

ZERA reported that there are over 40 licensed LP gas wholesalers in the country, along with at least 750 licensed retailers. Additionally, more than 4,000 LP gas fillers have received proper filling method training, and 15 LP gas installers have been registered.

Source - The Herald