Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) has issued a warning against the rampant fuel smuggling especially in the north and eastern parts of the country.

Engineering Manager at BERA, Gift Bakumbi told The Midweek Sun that the regulator has so far confiscated and disposed of more than 32 529 litres of illicit fuel in the current financial year, noting that this was an increase from 28 598 litres in the previous year.

According to Bakumbi, at the end of the second quarter in 2022, they had already collected 61 127 litres confiscated from either suspects who were trying to smuggle or were caught illegally exporting the fuel.

In the past, the authority had an arrangement with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services that allowed a person to export up to 100 litres for own use without the need for an export permit, however, the authority has since rescinded the decision after realising that some people illegally smuggled fuel out of the country.

“We have realised that the dispensation is being abused, where a person would cross the border multiple times in a single day carrying 100 litres claiming it is for own use. Clearly when one crosses the border on a single day many times every time crossing with 100 litres it indicates that this is no longer for own use but for some undisclosed activity”, Bakumbi said.

He said at the moment they no longer allow any export of petroleum products without a license.

Bakumbi said that they allow people to apply for a permit to export for their own use only if one uses routes that do not have filling stations immediately after the border. He said in this instance they would consider issuing a permit to export for own use.

Bakumbi cautioned members of the public that fuel export is a regulated activity therefore it has to be done under the bounds of the law.