A CRITICAL shortage of fuel has hit Kasempa district in the North-Western Province after Vuma, the only filing station in the area, suspended operations following a court order from S & S Muscle Enterprises over ownership of the facility.
This has forced motorists to fetch the commodity from Solwezi, which is 185 kilometres away where it was reported be in short supply.
Kasempa district commissioner Sansakuwa Kadansa who confirmed the development said he had summoned the local council secretary, Vuma and S & S Muscle Enterprises managements for a discussion over the matter.
He said halting operations at Vuma filling station had created a fuel shortage in the area as it was the only service station.
"We as Government are concerned because there is only one filling station that is running and so we are concerned that without Vuma our administrative operations have come to a halt due to fuel shortage," he said.
Meanwhile, director of public relations for Pegasus Transport, a subsidiary of Vuma, Allan Lupenga, said his company was aware that the facility belonged to Government because it was initially owned by the defunct BP filling station.
Lupenga explained that Vuma did not want to engage in unnecessary fights with S&S company, so it decided to suspend operations until the matter was resolved even though they were denied a copy of the purported court injunction.
He however said the move by S&S was regrettable as it was not made in the best interest of the people of Kasempa who had been robbed of the valuable commodity "I do not think he is doing justice to the community. The property belongs to the Government and the move by this company to create unnecessary fights with us will bring all economic activities to a standstill because there is no other filling station in the area. The only place where motorists can get fuel is Solwezi which is about 185 km away," Lupenga said.
Meanwhile, Solwezi district has also been hit by a fuel shortage which began early this week causing traders on the black market to hike the price of the commodity.
Traders on the black market have hiked the price of the commodity from K9.8 to K15 per litre of petrol.
The shortage has caused panic buying among residents in the district who queued up as early as 06:00hours to access the commodity.