‘Mafia’ continues selling substandard fuel
KABUL (Pajhwok): Gas and oil businessmen on Sunday alleged “the oil mafia and its cronies” in the government had allowed the sale of low-quality petroleum products in the bazaar, a claim dismissed by the Norms and Standards Department.
The Cabinet last month asked the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to evolve and implement a mechanism to prevent the sale and import of sub-standard fuel.
Under the Cabinet’s decision, the grades of petrol and diesel being imported to the country should not be blow A-92 and L02-62 respectively, giving importing firms a three-month ultimatum.
The Cabinet had tasked the National Standards Authority to reject sub-standard fuel and impose fines on traders found guilty of importing low-quality products.
Azarakhsh Hafizi, the National Union of Petroleum and Gas companies head, told reporters in Kabul it was unfortunate the “oil mafia” and its supporters in the government continued to be allowed to sell the semi-refined oil called "premagon” in violation of the Cabinet’s decision.
He said in the past, some companies would import sub-standard fuel to the country and would pay heavy sums to get the imports cleared in laboratory tests, thus manipulating prices.
But Mujibur Rahman Khateer, the Norms and Standards Department deputy head, rejected the claim as baseless and selfish, saying the objections were being raised as part of competitions among oil importing firms.
He said his department would take legal action against importers of substandard fuel after the expiry of the three-month ultimatum set by the Cabinet.
Hafizi said the union was committed not to bring in substandard fuel to the country and was ready to establish a fuel testing lab. “We are ready to provide the government with money for purchasing a fuel testing lab.”
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