Fuel traders demand compensation for losses due to fuel smuggling

Service station owners in the north are pushing the government to compensate them for the losses they have made due to fuel smuggling on the Angolan border.

This comes after minister of mines and energy Tom Alweendo said the issue of fuel smuggling is not manageable and requested the business community to assist and pitch ideas in finding an amicable solution.

Alweendo was speaking at a meeting held in Windhoek with the Namibia Local Business Association (Naloba) on Tuesday.

The government faces a major problem of fuel smuggling from Angola, through the porous border in northern Namibia, which has been going on for some time and poses serious economic and security concerns.

According to Alweendo, the situation is complicated by the lack of a delineated border fence between the two countries, which makes it difficult for law enforcement to control.

Past investigations have shown that traditional homesteads along the border in both countries are used as storage facilities for smuggled fuel, with taxis the primary consumers of this fuel.

There are also private motorists who drive to Angola for the purpose of filling their vehicles, only to empty them for resale in Namibia.

Additionally, the border has not been de-bushed, which provides cover for smugglers to hide from police officers, especially at night.

In recent years, several service station operators have complained of the competition they get from the cheap fuel from Angola, threatening the survival of their businesses.

Naloba vice president Peter Amadhila yesterday said fuel smuggling continues to not only destroy the economy but leaves many businesses to close, resulting in a loss of jobs, especially in the northern part of the country.

“We had a meeting with the minister in Oshikango and he promised to address the situation,” said Amadhila.

He said many entrepreneurs borrowed money from commercial institutions and are unable to service their commitments, leading to them being repossessed.

“The ministry should look at compensating them for the losses because it failed to curb the situation of fuel smuggling,” he said.

Alweendo, however, said it is difficult to consider compensating the businesspeople, given the nature of the situation and the fact that it is ongoing and without an immediate solution.

In 2023, Naloba had requested the government to deploy the army and police along the borders to prevent illegal fuel smuggling.

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