The president noted that it is now common for some fuel traders to refuse selling fuel whenever Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) announces lower indicative prices for the market.
A fortnight ago, for example, EWURA reviewed prices downward and the nation witnessed confusion as several traders stopped selling fuel with some of them claiming that they have run out of stock. Others blamed heavy rainfall that damaged bridges, roads and other installations in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere in the country.
Reports from Rukwa, Kagera, Manyara and Kigoma regions have showed that a litre of petrol sold as high between 6,000/- and 10,000/-, well above the recommended price of 1,900/- a litre.
This is making life difficult to millions of people in those areas as transporters including operators of passsenger buses, taxis and even motorcycles asked for exorbitant fare. President Kikwete did not want to mince words in his New Year message to such rogue traders and rightly described them as economic saboteurs who should not be tolerated.
It is hoped that EWURA is going to heed presidential directive and deal with these saboteurs swiftly. Such traders deserve tough penalty to save as a deterrent to others. EWURA also deserve commendation for effecting the bulk procurement system for petroleum products.
The Authority reported last week that the first batch of over 40,000 tonnes was expected at the Dar es Salaam Port over the weekend. The batch is part of a consignment of over 500,000 tonnes expected to cover the demand for January and February 2012.
There is already a lot of optimism that the new bulk procurement system would bring down fuel prices since the market is likely to benefit from the economies of scale.
It has, however, been cautioned that there are some firms that are against the new system and are likely to sabotage its implementation.Again EWURA has to be watchful and take necessary action in case this happens.