Mozambique's efforts to phase out leaded fuel stalled
Moves by the Ministry of Energy and Power Development of Mozambique to come up with a road map for the phasing-out of
leaded fuel have been stalled. According to the Secretary of Energy and Power Development, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, the
ministry's drive was put on hold after it was felt that there was need to look at the specific programmes South
Africa and Mozambique had in place for phasing out leaded fuel.
"The bulk of our fuel comes through Mozambique and South Africa and it is important that we synchronise our programme with those of these two countries. Our programme has to tally with those of South Africa and Mozambique," he said.
Mr Mupamhanga said they were not sure of the nature of the programmes the two countries had although there was active
dialogue to determine this. The ministry, which engaged various stakeholders in the motor and fuel industry early
this year on the proposal to phase out leaded fuel, has been compiling a position paper on the proposed phasing-out
of leaded fueland the switch to unleaded fuel.
The approval of the document was likely to pave way for the phasing out of leaded fuel.
During the meeting, delegates acknowledged that the change-over from leaded to unleaded petrol was inevitable and
that the country should set deadlines for the phasing out-stages as a matter of urgency. There were, however,
concerns from the motoring industry on the effects of the change-over to older cars on the country's roads and prices
of unleaded fuel which would replace leaded petrol.
Plans to withdraw leaded fuel are in line with the agreements at the Sub-Saharan African countries meeting in Dakar, Senegal, in 2001 and in South Africa in October 2003, where African countries resolved to end sales of leaded fuel by 2005 because of the harmful effects of the fuel.
Tetraethyl lead, a lead compound, was added to petrol for decades to prevent knocking in engines. Modern refining
technology allows fuel suppliers to produce petrol with molecular forms that burn without knocking.
The move to phase out leaded fuel is part of a global movement in which oil refineries are moving away from the production of leaded fuel. The global usage of leaded fuel has declined to 10 % while unleaded petrol has become the widely used fuel worldwide.
Leaded fuel is mostly consumed in Africa where most of the countries are still using it extensively although a few
other countries are now using both fuels.
Ethiopia and Mauritius are the only countries in Africa that have changed over to unleaded fuel. In southern Africa, only South Africa and Zimbabwe are consume both fuels although South Africa has indicated that it would complete its change-over by January 2006.