Fuel companies and stations across the country have been ordered to strictly implement fuel transactions electronically through ethio telecom’s platform, telebirr, until May 9, 2023, or they will not receive fuel supplies afterwards.
The Petroleum and Energy Authority instructed all fuel companies in a letter to instruct their gas stations to begin selling fuel through the platform and fully implement it until the date set by the Authority.
“Should any gas station be caught transacting fuel in cash after the deadline, they will be banned from the fuel supply,” the Authority’s director general, Saharla Abdullahi, warned in a letter dated March 5, 2023.
However, in a meeting with representatives from the companies and stations, officials from the Authority, telebirr, and the Ministry of Transport and Logistics decided that the deadline for stations in Addis Ababa is two weeks earlier than the national deadline, April 24, 2023.
Saharla urged attendees of the meeting at Ghion Hote; to embrace the new system because it simplifies payments and will revolutionize the country’s petroleum sector. The Authority hopes to increase transparency in the sector through electronic transactions by partnering with the state-owned telecom giant for system implementation.
The platform will offer a seamless and secure payment system that will benefit both customers and fuel stations, according to Biruk Adhana, Chief Mobile Money Officer at ethio telecom.
“The mobile platform is expected to have a ripple effect on the economy, boosting the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) through job creation and revenue collection,” Biruk told meeting attendees.
Selman Mohammed, the project manager for this project at the Ministry of Transport and Logistics, also explained to representatives from oil companies and gas stations how this move would help make the sector more cohesive.
The electronic fuel payment initiative has been lauded for its benefits in terms of safety and security in managing transactions rather than cash flow, as well as its contribution to taxation in that it will assist the government in tracking transactions in order to collect revenue from the petroleum sector.
Gas stations have raised concerns with officials about network availability, agent training, a time limit, and a variety of other issues. Biruk stated that his company is working on an offline mode for the telebirr app in case of network issues, which are yet to be resolved.
Contributed by Daniel Nigussie