Jah Oil responds to PURA, says 50m rule was never implemented

Jan 22, 2021, 11:21 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Momodou Hydara, manager, Jah Oil Company has said the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) has never implemented the 50 meters rule as far as gas stations are concerned in The Gambia. 

Mr. Hydara made these remarks at a press briefing held at the company’s Wellingara Petrol Station yesterday, Thursday.

This followed a D1.2 million fine imposed on the company by PURA for not observing the 50 meters rule.

He explained that they applied for 12 petrol stations including Wellingara and Kairaba, but PURA turned down Wellingara and Kairaba, saying they did not meet the 50 meters rule.

However, he said after several meetings with PURA, they gave them the green light to commence work.

When the application was sent, PURA and other stakeholders visited the locations concerned and came out with a report, saying that all the others are qualified except two: Wellingara and Kairaba, he added.

He further said that because the 50 meter rule was not feasible, PURA agreed to work with them to replace the 50 meter rule with something that is more of health and safety standards.

He also said that they also appealed to the Ministry of Petroleum to mediate.

Hydara also said that all stakeholders in the industry were summoned to a meeting were all gas station owners operating in the sector agreed that the 50 meter rule was a menace and not feasible, citing examples where the 2018 regulations had been violated.

He said when they asked PURA at the meeting when the new regulations would come into effect, they answered before the end of December 2020. He said by then, Wellingara Petrol Station was almost finished.

According to him, they wrote to PURA to that effect, saying that they wanted to open the place by 20 December 2020 because they were anticipating that the regulations would have already been in force. But then they received a message that there is a delay.

He adduced they again wrote to PURA just to be in compliance, postponing the opening of Wellingara to 1st January.

When Wellingara was opened, he said they again wrote to PURA asking for the way forward, but instead of replying to them, PURA slapped them with a fine.

“I would have been glad if they come up with other reasons apart from the 50 meter”, he stated, saying this is because other petrol stations are not adhering to the 50 meter rule.

He said they have written to the Ministry of Petroleum imploring them to set up an inquiry.

He also clarified that Jah Oil Company has never used a public property as a petrol station, but rather buys properties from private citizens.