Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter has assured oil transporters that the government will address all the issues being raised by striking oil tanker drivers.
Addressing the drivers at the Kenya Pipeline Depot at Embakasi in Nairobi, Keter urged petroleum dealers to resume operations as the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) engages with industry stakeholders in order to come up with policies that uphold safety.
“I plead with you to go back to work, I will be in touch with line authorities to discuss and resolve your grievances,” said Keter, adding that the truckers’ strike would negatively impact the economy.
The transporters affiliated to the Kenya Independent Petroleum Dealers Association (KIPDA) started their strike three days ago, protesting against the new regulations, requiring them to operate only during day time.
The regulation is drawn from the Energy (Licensing of Petroleum Road Transportation Business) Regulations 2013 which came to effect on January 1, 2014.
According to the regulations, oil truckers are supposed to be on the road between 6.00am and 6.00pm.
Keter assured the drivers that arrangements were being made to have the police escort oil tankers found on the road by 6.00pm to the nearest areas with safe parking and without sanctions or penalties.
The directive comes a few weeks after a lorry transporting inflammable substances rammed into vehicles and burst into flames at night at Karai along the Nairobi- Naivasha highway.
Over 30 people perished in the accident, prompting the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to issue a circular, directing all trucks that ferry petroleum products to only travel during the day.
“We are working on a long term plan to cushion the transporters from losses that may arise from the enforcement of this regulation while observing the law,” he added.
He explained that the legislation was brought forth in the Energy Act of 2006, adding that the Energy and Petroleum Bill was before the Senate which will provide some of the possible solutions to the concerns expressed by the transporters.
He said a team from the Ministry and KIPDA will be constituted in order to come up with a long-lasting solution to contentious issues such as the improvement of business infrastructure, road infrastructure and loading.
Keter was accompanied by the Principal Secretary for Petroleum Mr. Andrew Kamau, the Managing Director of the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and officials from KIPDA.