The majority of fuel stations in South Sudan’s capital Juba are closed down — and the crisis starts to spread across the country. Local transport fares for taxis, mini buses and boda bodies have hiked, as a litre of fuel that used to cost SSP 10 (US$ 3.5) now goes for up to SSP 50 (US$ 17).
Anguyo Muzamil is a boda boda driver in Juba. He says what we do now is to buy the litre of fuel at the expensive price and increase the fare for the boda boda”. In case there is no fuel at all you just park the motorcycle and there is no business”, he adds.
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Long queues of vehicles and motorbikes line up at the few remaining gas stations that still have fuel. The shortage affects the government, NGOs, businesses and private people alike — waiting for hours to secure some of the rare commodity.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Petroleum, Mining and Industry, Machar Aciek Ader, explains that the flow of petroleum products from Mombasa to Eldoret through the Kenyan pipeline has its own problems and it was not possible for our importers to load in Eldoret, causing some delay”.
In addition some bureaucratic procedures” within the Qatar National Bank (QNB) delayed the procurement and import of petroleum products worth US$ 40 m, according to the Undersecretary.
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Chamber of Commerce survey suggests ‘malpractices’ contribute to shortagesAder further says that illegal clearing agents in the import hub Nimule, through which most of the fuel is transported from Uganda to South Sudan, have been stopped to operate by a recent government crack down — contributing to the fuel crisis.
Paul Adong, the Managing Director of NilePET, confirms the problems in Nimule, saying that there are many fuel tankers that are currently on their way to Juba stranded in Nimule for clearances”. NilePET oversees the affairs of all oil operating companies in South Sudan, including Petrol Stations importing fuel into the country.
Adong says NilePET has formed a committee to look critically at avenues where we can address these problems immediately and formulate long term strategies to deal with shortages in the future”. The committee is tasked to deduce all necessary immediate measures and long term solutions to end the problem of recurrent fuel crises in South Sudan.
As long as South Sudan is importing fuel from another country; as long as we have not finalised the refineries, these fuel shortages are not going to go, they will always come back.”This is not the first time South Sudan is hit by a fuel crisis. Last year South Sudan experienced a similar situation, despite the fact that South Sudan is an oil producing country.
As long as South Sudan is importing fuel from another country; as long as we have not finalised the refineries, these fuel shortages are not going to go, they will always come back,” Adong warns.
In the meantime NilePET came up with plans to establish fuel storage reserves in Juba and across the 10 states. Currently one reserve facility worth US$ 3 m is established, storing up to 2.2 m litres of fuel — a temporary measure according to Adong.
South Sudan imports its fuel solely from Kenya, after additional imports from Sudan stopped in May 2011 following and escalation over the disputed Abyei region and the closing of the North-South trade route.