4 May 2017

Burundi: Fuel Shortage Still Unsolved, Say Bujumbura Residents

The Minister of Energy and Mining announced yesterday that petroleum products will now be distributed only at fuel stations and in daytime from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The decision is taken after a serious lack of fuel that has been observed in the country since the last few days.

Consumers say this measure will create disorder. They ask the government to solve the major problem by importing enough fuel.

Daniel Mpitabakana, Director of the department of fuel within the Ministry of Energy and Mining, announced on 3 May that petroleum products will from now be distributed only at fuel stations and during daytime from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. "The decision has been taken to curb the phenomenon of speculation observed in the management and distribution of oil products since the last few days", he says.

He also says the distribution of fuel during the hours and in places not officially set by the government will be severely punished in accordance with the law. Mpitabakana urges fuel station owners to distribute oil products without interrupting the entire quantity purchased from importers.

He says trucks transporting petroleum products cannot leave oil warehouses after 6 p.m. and the unloading is only done between 7 a.m. and 5 pm.

He says the list of gas stations which have received oil from importers will be published online especially on the twitter accounts of the Ministry of Energy and Mining (@ carburant and @ minergieminel), as well as on its website (www. Energie-mine.gov .bi). "The managers of the stations are required to display the signs "En Service" when they have oil products and "Fermé" if they do not.

Over the last week, Minister of Energy and Mining, CômeManirakiza, told a press conference the shortage was due to the lack of foreign currency.

A sufficient quantity of fuel must be imported

"The decision of the Ministry of Energy and Mining is worsening the fuel shortage. The problem we face is not about the hours of distribution of fuel products, rather, the lack of fuel, "says A.K, a driver from a Bujumbura company. He says Burundian authorities want to deceive the public into believing that things go to normal while the population is suffering.

The schedule established by the Ministry of Energy does not favor us. "The Minister seems to be unaware that the majority of fuel consumers are civil servants," says a young mother and agent of a company operating in the capital Bujumbura.

Noel Nkurunziza, chairman of the Burundian Association of Consumers (ABUCO), says the timetable for distribution of fuel set by the Ministry is a hindrance for the workers. He asks the government to review the decision. He says the Ministry of Energy and Mining should find another way to inform consumers accessible to everyone. "The majority of Burundians do not have access to the Internet," he said.

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