A quick review of the status on the ground reveals that most fuel stations are either out of both diesel and petrol or one of the two is available while the other is out of stock.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy is on record to have issued numerous pregnant assurances in the media indicating that the shortage was temporary and the situation would normalize. Alas, it is now almost a month and his unfulfilling assurances seem to be a fairytale.
Fuel shortages should be taken seriously as it has serious implications on the economy as productivity and man hours are lost. Most motorists, particularly commercial drivers are queuing up at the limited filling stations to purchase the essential commodity because if they do not refill the vehicles, most people including the working community as well as school going children who use public transport will not be able to reach their various destinations. This situation also applies to those who own and use personal vehicles.
This has caused a common feature of long queues of motorists amid panic of buying the commodity across the country. It is in this regard that CUTS-International calls upon government to provide accurate and consistent information on why this situation has persisted. Not giving correct and accurate information entails that the government is violating the UN charter on consumer rights which explicitly highlights that consumers have the right to correct and accurate information for them to make informed choices. CUTS further takes this opportunity to urge government to take issues relating to consumers seriously.
In addition, it is important for government to call for a round table conclave which should include consumers, regulators and consumer organisations to convene and discuss this situation and find long term measures and solution to this situation.