The Namibia Local Business Association (NALOBA) and Fuel and Franchise Association (FAFA) have joined forces in finding ways to end fuel smuggling across the Angolan-Namibian border.

The fuel smuggling across the border between Namibia and Angola has hit northern fuel stations hard, a situation which has forced NALOBA (mostly an association of northern black business people) and FAFA (an association of whites and coloureds in fuel retail) to come together and set up a “steering committee” tasked with finding a lasting solution to the illegal fuel retailing known in the vernacular as “ngungula”.

The steering committee set up today at Ongwediva consists of NALOBA’s president Mr Erastus Shapumba and vice-president Mr Peter Amadhila, and chairperson of FAFA Mr Deklen Viviers and vice-chairperson Mr Michael Ludeke as the main members of the committee.

Three additional members will be appointed to the committee who will represent several sectors of the fuel retailing in Namibia.

“This is a historic and important occasion, for our two associations coming together,” said Mr Peter Amadhila, vice-president of NALOBA. “We want to work together to find a solution to our problem caused by fuel smugglers.

“As fuel retailers we are not supposed to be as poor as we are. Service station owners carry a burden, they are no longer carrying businesses on their shoulders. Therefore we are here to take concrete steps.”

Mr Michael Ludeke, vice-chairperson of FAFA said that fuel smuggling started way before Covid-19. “But it kept on increasing due to increases of fuel price. Until today we don’t have a solution to it. It’s good that we came together.”

Amadhila stated that the minister of mines and energy Mr Tom Alweendo is fully aware of the situation and he even went to the border to witness the ongoing smuggling of illegal fuel into the country.

“But he said that there is nothing he can do. He said it’s a porous border and nothing can be done.”

The meeting was attended by 24 people who represented more than 10 service stations across the four northern regions of Oshana, Omusati, Oshikoto and Ohangwena.

The steering committee will be tasked with speaking to government and other stakeholders in search of a solution to fuel smuggling, failure of which more drastic actions will be considered by the combined NALOBA and FAFA force.

In the photo: Service station owners with NALOBA and FAFA leaders discussing the “ngungula” problem.