, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 13 – The government has been asked to address impending fire risks at the Kipevu Oil Jetty in Kilindini Harbour, Mombasa.
Vivo Energy Kenya Managing Director Polycarp Igathe on Wednesday explained that the jetty does not comply with international safety and security regulations adding that any fire or damage would cause a fuel crisis in the East African Region.
“We recently did a safety and security audit on the Kipevu Jetty and we realised that it is not a question of whether there will be a fire, it is a question of when.”
“That jetty is not fire ready and the government needs to start addressing itself to risks of that kind.”
“We cannot afford a disruption at the jetty because as soon as there is one, Kenya, Uganda, Northern Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi will be affected,” added Igathe.
He also called on the government to create price controls within the oil sector saying that the high prices are driving away investors.
“Service station owners pay a lot to the suppliers of fuel yet they also have to pay for other services and workers and in the end they make very little profits if any,” he said.
Igathe noted that some fuel stations have a large workforce of up to 50 people. “The government should support the owners so that they in turn will make more and pay better wages to their workforce.”
He was speaking at a ceremony to sign a partnership between Vivo Energy Kenya and Safaricom.
The General Manager Safaricom Business Sylvia Mulinge unveiled a platform that will allow customers pay for fuel using M-PESA.
Mulinge adds that the platform will allow customers pay for fuel using a cash-light mechanism which is safer.
“We believe that we will create more efficiency of people running fuel stations and more convenience for customers.”
“In this innovation the stations will incur less costs in cash handling and avert the risks that come with bulk cash handling,” Mulinge explained.
In April, Vivo Energy demanded that the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited (KPRL) shut down, saying it has become inefficient and costly for the industry.
Igathe argued that if the industry stopped using KPRL, the price of fuel would drop by up to Sh9 a litre in the country.
“We are getting poor quality of crude oil which we are obligated to buy from an inefficient asset. Closing the refinery will reduce inflation, reduce the cost of wages and salaries and improve the cost of living,” he suggested.
The Managing Director further suggested that storage should be allocated to people with over 20 service stations and not just anyone.
He revealed that there are many people who are using the pipeline to sell their products in tanks without having a service station which is constraining the supply of their products to customers.
“There are more than 70 players in the market and 90 percent of them do not have service stations; this is just creating constraints in the pipeline,” he observed.
“We need policies that will reduce price, that will reduce cost of living and accelerate employment creation in the country.”