27 February 2013

Gambia: Fuel Shortage and Price Increases, Who Is Responsible?

Long queues were seen at the different re-fueling stations within the Kanifing Municipality on Monday informing that the Diesel fuel was in shortage in town.

Visiting different stations within KMC, it was evident and confirmed that diesel was indeed in short supply at the Filling stations.

Many sales managers said diesel fuel is in shortage but expressed optimism that things may be different on Wednesday February 26th.

However, it has also been made clear at the stations that the price of both Petrol and diesel have been increased, even though the petrol was not in short supply. It was confirmed that diesel fuel price before the shortage was at D47 per litre on Monday but was increased to between D48 to D49 per litre depending on the filling station. The price of petrol which was not reported to be in short supply also increased from D49 to 50.50 dalasi per litre.

Meanwhile, the long queues continued at the filling stations, and drivers were seen complaining that this is a common thing in the Gambia; that almost every year fuel dealers would create artificial shortage as a pretext to increase the fuel pump price which they opined as unnecessary. They alleged that dealers would just hoard it for a day and say it is finished and the next day they would increase the price. A driver, Ous Kujabi said: "this is now a culture in the Gambia", but added that he does not blame anyone but the government who he said should ensure proper monitoring of the price but left business to do what they like. He added that the government should know if the fuel is in shortage and when it would come and explain the increment. He opined that it should be announced if it is an executive order. He said the authorities should know that they have no choice but to struggle and buy it because it is linked to their survival.

Aboulie Sey, Foday Njie, all commercial drivers and Aba Colley, and Kemo senghor who are all private drivers, opined similar sentiments but added that fuel cannot be in short supply and be available the next day when there was no vessel arriving over night.

It could be recalled that the experienced driver I spoke to on the day of the reported shortage on Monday said that fuel was not in short supply but instead they wanted to increase the price.

However after confirming the shortage at the petrol stations within Kanifing Municipality and Banjul, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs was contacted to find out the section responsible for fuel and it's increment but that was unsuccessful.

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