Namibia is currently faced with a major problem of fuel smuggling from neighboring Angola, a government official said Thursday.
Proposing measures to curb the activities, Carlo Mcleod, deputy director of the Directorate of Petroleum Affairs with Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, said in a presentation that the government needs to budget funds specifically for infrastructure, equipment, and recruitment of young police and border guards.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security should consider deploying police officers from other regions to supplement the existing manpower capacity along the borderline in the affected areas and fines and sentences need to be more deterrent,” he said.
According to Mcleod, a mission undertaken from July 10-16 to investigate the problem in the affected regions revealed that there are no delineated border fences, which has become a hurdle for law enforcement to maintain and control the situation.
“Namibia’s northern borders in the Ohangwena and Omusati regions, are facilitating entry points for smuggled fuel,” he said, noting that traditional homesteads near the borderline in both countries are used as storage of smuggled fuel.
Namibia’s Ohangwena region is more critical due to the proximity of service stations in Santa Clara, Angola, where the smuggled fuel is sourced. At the same time, Onamhinda in Oshikango which is partially fenced is ineffective as criminals continue to cut the fence.
Mcleod also said the activities have now become a life-threatening concern and not only as an economic issue, as police officers are attacked by fuel smugglers, resulting in injuries and property damage.
In a budget speech in April, Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo stated that fuel smuggling had become an increasing trend that has a serious negative impact on the economy.
On average, a liter of fuel in Angola costs 0.37 U.S. dollars, while in Namibia fuel costs 1.42 U.S. dollars for gasoline and 1.49 U.S. dollars per liter for diesel. Taxis in Namibia are the primary consumers of smuggled fuel. Enditem