Zambia is still negotiating with the Angolan government on the possibility of striking a deal to import refined petroleum products from that country to help reduce fuel pump prices.
Energy Permanent Secretary George Zulu disclosed that, the two governments are still discussing on how best Zambia can benefit from the importation of cheap petroleum products from Angola.
In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Zulu said the Government was determined to cut off the middle men involved in the petroleum importation cycle and ensure that fuel was affordable to all Zambians.
Angola, which borders Zambia in Western and North-Western provinces, is Africa’s second largest oil producer after Nigeria.
Mr Zulu said the country plans to start importing finished petroleum products from Angola once the negotiations were completed.
Zambia has in the past been importing all its pertroleum products from the Middle East.
“Both governments at ministerial levels have met and the two are still negotiating, to find ways of reaching out to cheaper sources of fuel and therefore, our tradition is to tender for the supply of petroleum products through the Zambia Public Procurement Authority and that tender was floated as the negotiations continues,” he said.
Mr Zulu said it was the Government’s intention to ensure that fuel was affordable for all Zambians saying, Zambia was the highest in the region in terms of fuel pump prices.
“The President has been instrumental in seeing that we go out to look for cheaper petroleum products and the former president Kenneth Kaunda was sent to Angola and went with the Minister of Energy, Christopher Yaluma to explore possibilities of procuring petroleum products from there,” he said.
Mr Zulu explained that a technical team led by the minister of Energy travelled to Angola to discuss the details of importing finished petroleum products.
He says Government has been looking at ways of bringing down the cost of fuel and that so far, it seems the answer lies in importing fuel from neighbouring Angola.
Zambia relies on semi-refined oil imports from the Middle East but oflate, has been studying plans to import crude oil from Angola and set up a new oil refinery locally.