ERB picks British firm to help combat Illicit fuel trade

The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has picked Authentix, a British firm specialised in global authentication and information services, to combat the illicit fuels trade in the the country. 

Authentix’s program utilizes unique markers that are added to various fuels. Samples of the fuels are taken at retail locations to ensure that the proper markers are present, helping to identify the source of the fuel.

The company said the covert fuel marking program will officially begin on Thursday.

The effort is aimed at supporting government’s fuel integrity program and the government’s efforts to ensure a clean, high-quality fuel supply to support local commerce.

Authentix said it helped the ERB assess the current supply chain, design a program to meet the board’s goals that include enforcement, and to select from the company’s portfolio of covert chemical markers and analysers, to deliver a program uniquely tailored to Zambia’s needs.

It’s a major part of the nation’s effort to curb illicit fuels that are smuggled into the nation or fuels that are adulterated with inferior products and don’t meet the ERB’s quality standards for fuels. The smuggled and adulterated fuels can include harmful substances that pose a threat to public health and the environment, according to Authentix.

The company said that the program also could benefit Zambia’s economy.

“In our experience operating nine fuel marking programs across Africa, the return-on-investment measured by recovered excise taxes far outweighs the operational costs of the program,” Kevin McKenna, Authentix’s chief sales and services officer, said. 

“In 20 years of designing and operating covert fuel marking programs, we estimate to have recovered over $1 billion to governments,” he added. 

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