. Government sells 1,000,000 litres to check shortages
. Negotiations with dealers on
Rwanda has experienced shortages in fuel supply because of difficulties in importing the product due to its high price and reduced supply from the Kenyan town of Eldoret.
According to the commerce ministry, the current standoff between Kenya and Rwanda, is a result of the former’s refusal to reduce fuel prices when they fell on the international market last month.
The official added that pipelines from Mombasa to Eldoret are currently carrying the fuel in small quantities because the pipes are expected to undergo maintenance services in a few weeks.
“Our oil suppliers cannot import unless Kenya reduces prices or Rwanda increases them,” Antoine Ruvebana, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry told a press conference yesterday.
Fuel shortages became visible Wednesday, just close to a month after government announced a 13.6 percent fall in prices for both petrol and diesel on the pump.
Ruvebana said that government has sent agents to Kenya to assess fuel prices before it could meet local suppliers for talks that are due on Monday next week.
He said that the agents have so far found out that on top of plans to repair the Kenyan pipelines, is the issue of Somali pirates who have made delivering oil to Mombasa difficult for petroleum fleets.
“They [vessels transporting fuel] are paying high insurance costs and have to go through unnecessary long journeys to arrive in Mombasa,” he said, outlining some of the reasons Kenya has not reduced fuel prices.
Rwanda depends on Kenyan port to import fuel products.
“Even after talks between government and suppliers, it is predictable that fuel prices will hike….we will have to increase prices a little so that we continue having fuel in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, government has released 1,000,000 litres to private dealers to ease the crisis. The fuel will be bought at the usual price of Rwf 756 per litre.
Ruvebana said that the fuel from the government reserves could sustain the country for about five days.
This means that Rwandans will have fuel up to at least Tuesday next week when government will have decided whether to supply more at the same price. The country had to introduce fuel rationing in response to post-election violence in Kenya early this year.