Crippling fuel shortage attributed to hoarding and profiteering


(eTN) – A major fuel crisis has once again made life in Kenya even more difficult, as besides record prizes, motorists now have to drive from station to station to find the precious liquid and then often queue for hours before eventually reaching the pumps.

Nairobi was particularly hard hit again, but other locations across the country reported difficulties, too, in getting fresh supplies. Safari operators, at least the leading companies, have for a while now stocked fuel in their main depots and at strategic places across the safari circuit, to prevent any sudden halt when taking tourists around the country, but a key source has expressed concern over the recurring shortages.

He said in a message sent overnight: “For one, it is our procurement process where new rules and regulations introduced last year seem to have had a negative effect on the free flow of petroleum products into the country. Secondly, there is now strong suspicion of hoarding in hope of making unnaturally high profits on the commodity. Government should review their rules and regulations to cut out bureaucracy and red tape but also find and prosecute those causing artificial shortages. We in the sector are concerned, because it can impact severely on tourism operations, and just imagine it were not the low season right now, imagine all our fleet were deployed on safari – it could be bad.”

Across the border in Uganda and other hinterland nations, the market is also bracing itself for shortages, as when it happens in Kenya, the effects are quick to spill over to neighboring countries.