4 October 2017

Burundi: Fuel Shortage - Users Complain and Government Reassures

Since last week, gasoline shortage is observed in Bujumbura town. Public transport drivers complain. The Ministry of Energy and Mines reassures gasoline will be available any day.

Once one approaches Kigobe City Oil station, all they can see are long queues of motorcycles, small vehicles of public transport, tricycles commonly referred to as Bajaj, taxis and a few private cars alongside the 28 Novembre boulevard in the North of the capital. The same situation is observed at Kinindo City Oil station as well as at another gas station near Musaga zone in the southern part of the capital Bujumbura.

Some drivers told Iwacu on Tuesday 3 October they had been there since early in the morning, waiting to be served, in vain: "I have been here since 6 AM. I queued and as I was about to be served, gas station attendants said they would give gasoline to those who have purchase order. I am frustrated, how will I survive without it while I have a family to take care of?" said one of them.

Nsabimana Roger, a motorcyclist, says he does not understand how gasoline is kept for those who have purchase order. "How can they tell us that the remaining gasoline is reserved for those who have purchase order while we have been queuing since the morning? This is discrimination," says Nsabimana.

Léonidas Sindayigaya, spokesperson for the Ministry of Mines and Energy recognises the fuel shortage. He says there are changes in payment methods: "Customs clearance methods have changed. Importers of petroleum products used to pay at the borders but since last Wednesday, they pay from Burundi revenue Authority (OBR) using internet."

Sindayigaya reassures that the situation will be remedied soon: "Tomorrow or after tomorrow the problem will be solved .There is much fuel coming and users will be supplied with gasoline soon."

Jean Mvuyekure, spokesperson for OBR disclaims any custom clearance problem.

As for Gabriel Rufyiri, chairperson of the corruption watchdog (OLUCOME), the government should accept that there is a problem as this shortage keeps on recurring: "Though the government keeps on reassuring that there is fuel, it is clear that there is a repetitive shortage."

Rufyiri suggests that there should be overall strategies to put an end to gasoline shortage as it hampers the country's economy.

Only three gasoline stations all over the town are said to have fuel. Two of them are only distributing oil to those who have purchase order.

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