ARTIFICIAL FUEL SHORTAGE BITES SUMBAWANGA RESIDENTS

Author: PETI SIYAME
AfricaPress-Tanzania:  SEVERAL fuel stations in Sumbawanga municipality, Rukwa region have been blamed for allegedly playing foul by hoarding the product in a bid to trigger shortage.

It was gathered that some fuel retail sellers have created artificial shortages in a bid for them to buy time until July 1st this year, believing that the government will officially announce the rise on fuel price, so in turn, they can earn super profit.

A survey carried out by the ‘Daily News’ in Sumbawanga town on Saturday, it was discovered that only Tawaqal Petrol Station was selling petrol at an indicative price of 1,693/- per litre,  being the only fuel retail seller out of ten petrol stations based here.

Already, fuel shortage has wrecked big havoc and panic among the motorists and riders of Bajaj and Bodaboda, most of them have stopped providing transportation services within the municipality for two to three days consecutively.

When reached for comment, the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), Customer Services Officer Representative in Rukwa region, Mr Ramadhan Kakende allayed fears among the citizens in the precinct, assuring them there was a sufficient stock of the fuel stored in main depots in Dar es Salaam only that fuel retail sellers are suspected to have hoarded the product in a bid to create the artificial shortages here.

“We have been informed that some of the unscrupulous fuel retail sellers have created phony shortages by hoarding fuel in tankers transporting the product  from Dar es Salaam to Sumbawanga town by  acting as if the vehicles have experienced mechanical faults  in either Iringa or Mbeya region,” he revealed.

He further explained; “These fuel retail sellers unnecessarily create scarcity during times like this of low fuel indicative prices which, in the end, causes great panic amidst consumers. Regardless, I would like to allay fears among the general public here that the country has no shortage; therefore, there is no need to panic.

A cross section of Bodaboda and Bajaj riders who provide transportation services within the municipality have appealed to EWURA for immediate intervention to rescue the situation because at the moment, the route which was previously charged only 500/-  by Bajaj riders has now gone up for between  1,000/- and 2,000/- .

“We have been compelled to park and stop providing transport services due to scarcity of fuel” said Juma Mapunda, a Bajaj rider.

Last week, EWURA announced intent to revoke licenses of two fuel wholesalers and three retailing stations, over continuous tendency of hoarding fuel in a bid to trigger shortage.

According to EWURA’s Communications and Public Relations Manager Titus Kaguo, the companies particularly hoard the fuel, when the authority announces lowered monthly pump prices.

“These companies were creating shortage during times of low fuel indicative prices, which in the end caused panic among consumers,” Mr Kaguo stated yesterday in Dar es Salaam.

He mentioned the wholesaler as MOIL Industries Ltd and Olympic Petroleum Tanzania Ltd based in Kigamboni district, Dar es Salaam. The three fuel retailers are B.O.Five Ways Petrol Station (Bagamoyo), Mexon Energy (Makumbusho) and Mexon (Njombe).

Mr Kaguo further said the authority has issued stern warning to another  wholesaler, Oryx Company, and four retailers namely’ Mogas, Star Oil Tanzania Ltd, Camel Ltd and Mtweve Petrol station. Elaborating, he said, these companies are still under monitoring regarding their conducts.

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