Staff Writer

The Ministry of Mines and Energy on Tuesday announced the lifting of its temporary suspension on the issuing of fuel retail site and wholesale licenses.

The Ministry last July effected the suspension, citing an oversupply of service stations in the country. The move was aimed at reviewing existing procedures and requirements for securing a fuel retail site and wholesale license.

“The Ministry has reviewed the licencing procedures and requirements for granting fuel retail and wholesale licences, as provided for in the Petroleum Products and Energy Regulations, of 2000. This includes new application forms and conditions for the granting of the licences,” Ministry’s Spokesperson, Andreas Simon, told the Windhoek Observer.

“The new conditions allow us as a Ministry to have better control, while introducing stricter requirements, such as what one should have before they can be considered for a licence, such as financial capacity.”

Simon said the previous requirements and application conditions for fuel retail site and wholesale licenses had contributed to an influx of services stations, a development which according to retailers was impacting on their profitability.

“The guidelines and procedures made it too easy to secure a licence and we saw a mushrooming of sites and as per Act, we could turn away applications,” he said.

The Ministry’s Spokesperson said the lax conditions had also seen a surge in applications.

“There was now a backlog of close to seven months, yet it should not be taking more than three months. We also found out there existed a lot of dormant wholesale licences,” he said.

Namibia’s fuel retail sector is currently dominated by Engen, Total, Shell and Puma.

The latest entrant to the fuel retail sector, National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) has embarked on an aggressive rollout plan of sites, which had been affected by the Ministry’s moratorium.