Kenyans are continuing to feel the heat of the unfolding fuel shortage in most parts of the country the capital city Nairobi not left behind, the shortage of the precious commodity has seen some petrol stations turn away motorists as there pumps ran dry.
This shortage is seen as attempts by the oil marketers in the country to force payments from Treasury after the ex Chequer failed to pay for fuel subsidies for four months now.
“The limited amount of fuel that may have been there is now drying out, Oil marketing companies have supplied to their branded outlets but they do not have enough,” said Joseph Karanja, chairman Kenya Independent Petroleum distributors Association.
Karanja warned that if the current state of affairs is not addressed promptly then then the issue will get out of hands.
“We have tried talking to the oil marketing companies and they are pointing at the fuel stabilization programme. You know the government has not been paying and this has denied the company’s capital to import products. The little funds that they have are being used on importing for their branded outlets,” he added.
The government since March last year has been compensating oil marketing companies from the fuel stabilization mechanism as a means to cushion consumers from the high International crude prices. But with the Russian invasion of Ukraine has complicated the mechanism which intended to protect consumers from high prices .the marketers allege that the government owe them 32 billion shillings , claims the government has denied instead saying that they owe them 13 billion shillings.
In this mechanism, the energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority did save consumers from paying about 20 shillings more on a litre of petrol due to the subsidy, without the subsidy, motorists would have paid 133.89 shillings for a litre of diesel, 119.42 for kerosene and 144.25 for a litre of petrol.
According to Petroleum and Mining PS Andrew Kamau, the current fuel crisis is temporary which will likely be resolved by Tuesday.
“This is a classic run, it is the same if you go to the bank, if we all go to the bank to get our money out, they do not have money just sitting there, it is the same with petrol stations, they need to get it from the tank to the petrol stations,” PS Kamau said while in an interview with NTV.
But the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority EPRRA in owning up to the shortage crisis warned that hoarding or selling above set prices has consequences for those involved.
”There have been delays in remitting compensation from the stabilization fund and this has resulted in a number of oil marketing companies holding back sales to the local market ,” EPRRA said in a statement to newsrooms.
“The government is committed to promptly settling all pending claims on account of the stabilization process. All oil marketing companies are therefore directed to immediately release petroleum supplies in order to alleviate the current supply crisis,” it added.
Western parts of the country and the Rift valley are the areas hardest hit by the fuel shortages. Nairobi was also not left behind as it was hit as well.
“Tumekuwa hapa tangu 6am tukingoja mafuta, na tumepanga laini after some few hours tunaambiwa mafuta imeisha so tunahangaika kabisa.We have been queuing since 6 am but even after queuing for that long we have been told that there is no fuel still,”Ken Obura a bodaboda rider from Eldoret was quoted.
“Hakuna kazi sahizi, pikipiki zetu ni za loan. Due to the fuel shortage we are not working…..we are not earning yet our bodaboda’s are on loan,”James a bodaboda rider in Garrissa said.
“Kama dealer wetu amejaribu kila awezalo kujaza tank ili kila mtu apate mafuta lakini sahii customers wamekuwa wengi kuliko mafuta.Our dealer has been trying to ensure that we get enough fuel to sell to our customers but unfortunately the demand is high … we do not have enough fuel, Jane Njeri who works at shell BP Eldoret was quoted.
“Leo nimeenda kama petrol stations sita nimeambiwa hakuna mafuta kwanza zile za ngong road kama national oil. I have had to look for fuel in six different stations along Ngong Road like national oil before finally getting lucky, Mohammed a motorist in Nairobi remarked.
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Data from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority shows that Kenya uses 165.45 million litres of super petrol, 220.57 million litres of diesel and 11.26 million litres of paraffin every month.
The ongoing fuel problem that has gone on for weeks now is raising questions on what the real cause for the shortage really is. The lack of government coming out and explaining in detail the root cause of the crisis is making matters even worse with Kenyans finding it difficult to understand the current happenings.
There is need for the government to step in and resolve the problem which is getting out of hand. The best the government could do now is pay the marketers , I know there are those excuses that the government has been citing as the cause like high price of crude oil on the global stage but I feel there is another solution to this.
Fuel is life in the country, it is a critical driver of the country’s economy, without it the Transport sector and all other critical sectors will collapse leading to job losses and frustrations.
If this crisis continues Kenyans will soon not be able to travel but only travel when they must travel because of hiked fares.
BY WEMA TOYWA #WEMA’STAKE
VIDEO OF THE DAY; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGWlsCQ9ZTQ&t=6s