Tuesday, 18 June 2019 12:19

State Fuel Control: Before Theft, Inefficiency (+Infographic)

Written by István Ojeda, Esther de la Cruz and Yuset Puig
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State Fuel Control: Before Theft, Inefficiency (+Infographic) Photos: István Ojeda

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, said from the main hall of the headquarters, in Las Tunas, of the Provincial Assembly of People's Power that "the theft of fuel must be confronted immediately in all entities of the country".

On that occasion it was known that just in two local entities there was more than 30,000 liters missing.

THE BOSS'S CAR PAYS

This analysis was reported by all the media, which created in some part of the audience the false notion that this territory had a particularly alarming situation. The meeting held on February was actually the evaluation of a dozen measures directed by the Council of Ministers since September 2018, to strengthen the control of this resource allocated to means of transport belonging to the State.

The package of actions included customizing the magnetic cards and punishing with a reduction of half of the administrative fuel in each entity qualified as deficient by the Comptroller General Office of the Republic or the National Office for the Control of Rational Use of Energy (Onure). In simple terms, a poor assessment would have consequences on the fuel used in the vehicles of managers and others not directly related to the essential purpose of the company or institution.

Even, analyses, let's not say stolen fuel but wasted fuel, corroborate the urgency of such drastic decisions. Taking this last aspect as a reference, it is known that, literally, thousands of liters of gasoline or diesel have volatilized within State engines combustion chambers, without being the result, for example, the planned goods shipment.

Reynaldo Reyes SilvaReynaldo Reyes SilvaAccording to the studies of the State Traffic Unit (UET) of the province, the inefficient use of fuel in the specialized bases in cargo transport in Las Tunas during the harvest period has exceeded 158 thousand liters as an average, in the last three years.

UET concludes that there is no adequate correspondence between the fuel used and the load actually shipped in most of the 65 companies which have this type of structure under their command, grouping together around 500 means of transport. Reynaldo Reyes Silva, its director, warns that "When the capacity of the means of transportation is not well used, the conditions for misappropriation are being created".

The UET experts inform that the problems could be greater because they work with certified statistics; in comprehensive inspections, they note anomalies in the recording of all operations and fluctuations of transport technicians. In addition, they note, cargo vehicles whose more or less efficient performance is the responsibility of local subordinate entities or cooperatives are left out of their investigation.

THE PROBLEM IS THE DAMAGE... AND THE TRACES

On the side of the state centers, their directors claim to have taken the matter very seriously. Pablo César Ávila González, director general of the Provincial Company of Collection in Las Tunas, confesses that he has set as a personal goal, the efficient use and control of this resource in an organization whose responsibility is decision-making in the feeding of the people. They have proposed, he says, before the end of 2019 to install in their trucks the fleet control system or GPS, as it is popularly known.

He says that "we are updating the liter test to know the consumption rates and, if necessary, provide maintenance to cars that exceed the usual levels. That is a collection standard we've rescued. We set out to recover the distance table in order to have a clear picture of the routes, the mileage and, therefore, the consumption variables required by the different operations. Since the beginning of the year we already know what each task takes".

Together with the Collection Company, the business system linked to sugar production monopolizes a large volume of mechanized means. In fact, in each harvest that was carried out in the province, the equipment located in the cutting, loading and transport of sugarcane burns more than six million liters of fuel.

Pedro Jiménez Espinosa, deputy director of the local Sugar Company, says that the greatest vulnerabilities in such a context have been detected in Transmet, responsible for the transportation of cane and other cargoes associated with the sugar industry, and in Azumat, dedicated to logistics.

Particularly, he adds, they emphasize in the so-called exceptional tank trucks created to supply the harvesters and other similar equipment directly in the fields. Without forgetting that "the damage is not only economic, it is also from a political and ideological point of view because of the corruption and moral degradation it generates". Controls, he stresses, have doubled in quantity and frequency. "In other times we would have spent 15 or 20 percent more than we've consumed."

EYES THAT DO NOT SEE...

Annually, Cuba devotes one of two dollars obtained from the sale of services or tourism, only to the purchase of fuel. This data should serve as a spur to do everything possible to take advantage of every drop of diesel and gasoline poured into the tanks of state vehicles. However, reality says otherwise. Marbelis Almaguer Infante, provincial comptroller, and Maritza González Llorente, director of Onure at the same level, know a lot about this.

Marbelis Almaguer Infante, Las Tunas provincial Comptroller   Marbelis Almaguer Infante, Las
   Tunas provincial Comptroller
Today, the Comptroller insists, all the self-control guides are available, which explain to the state entities what they must do to have a robust internal control system, including fuel. "But what is oriented is not put into practice," she warned.

"The institutions with favorable results are those that have implemented it and have a plan of measures adjusted to the causes. The negative indices are in those who are not reviewed from the inside. González Llorente, for her part, comments that inaction often do not depend on budget but on exigency: "We talk about investments only in the case of exceptional tank trucks, the rest of the problems are human errors."

Both agree on a critical point. Everything starts to go wrong if administrative, political and trade union structures do not transparently analyze how, where and by whom the fuel is used. Almaguer Infante says that "The Board of Directors is the most important meeting of the month. It's a space to discuss difficulties. If you don't take the fuel situation there, when are you going to do it?"

The director of Onure says that "when, by procedure, we are going to carry out an opening in an entity, even if they are surprising actions, the Party and the Union must be present. When the evaluation is deficient, more emphasis is placed on the presence of factors. You always have to involve the workers."

IS IT JUST THE ROBBERY?

"If the state, our government, cannot give a solution to fuel theft, how are we going to build socialism?", Salvador Valdés Mesa, First Vice President, recently asked. In the most recent session of Parliament, Elaine Moreno, national director of Onure, reported that a proposal is being studied for private carriers to buy fuel at a single price, regardless of the mode they operate, in an attempt to reduce demand on the black market.

What if we try to analyze the subject with a more global prism? Research confirms that it is necessary, yes, to tackle with determination the attempt of subtraction, illicit sale and discourage potential customers to acquire "from the left" an extremely valuable resource. Nevertheless, before worrying about the autopsy of the corpse of corruption, it is important to make sure that what is assigned to public vehicles will be used properly in the planned productions or services.

State Fuel Control: Before Theft, Inefficiency

Read 497 times Last modified on Tuesday, 18 June 2019 14:45

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