The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority has started enforcing new stringent regulations that will see it stop issuing new licenses to petrol service station on access roads, streets and those in the suburbs in a bid to improve safety.
This is in line with the 2017 regulations governing the installation, upgrade and operation of petrol service stations. It includes ensuring that petroleum stations set up on national and district roads ought to observe a 100-metre distance from roads and sensitive areas like buildings and schools.
In addition, businesses in petrol stations are required to observe a one-kilometer distance from another petrol station, and two kilometres in rural areas.
Gerard Rusine, the director of gas and downstream petroleum regulations at RURA told Rwanda Today that for all ongoing and future license applications for petrol stations, only those proposed on national and district roads will be considered.
The regulations state that petrol stations need to observe the road reserve of 22 metres on national roads and 12 metres on district roads except where city and district officials determine the dimensions of the road reserve in respect to the provisions of their master plan.
However, petrol station owners say the rules make it difficult for new entrants and existing op-erators seeking expansion to set up in Kigali City and on major national roads with high traffic since these locations already have an oversupply of petrol stations as per the rules.
This had seen new applicants pushing to set up installations on access roads and in the suburbs to no avail.
While Mr Rusine admitted there was an oversupply of petrol stations on some roads, he argued that there were some parts of the country that are underserved.
Official data shows that the number of petroleum storage and service facilities in the country almost doubled from 150 in June 2012 to more than 294 this year.
However, according to Mr Rusine more than 90 per cent don’t meet the required safety and environmental standards as they were set up before the country enacted the regulations in 2016, which were amended a year later.
They were given a five year transition period starting from 2017.