KIGALI - The government has announced that the fuel crisis which marred the festive season will soon come to an end as new supplies begin to arrive.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the Minister of Commerce, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, said that some trucks had arrived and others were on their way. She added that the ministry was working on modalities to permanently solve the crisis.
“We are aware of the problem, there are some trucks carrying fuel that have arrived while others will probably be here Saturday or Sunday,” Nsanzabaganwa said on telephone.
The crisis being experienced in the entire region unfolded last month despite prices for oil plummeting on the international market. The shortage is largely said to come from Kenya, the region’s major supplier.
According to the ministry, the shortage was brought about by the ongoing renovation of the oil pipelines in Kenya and the fear by international suppliers of the recent upsurge of Somali pirates who have been hijacking vessels plying the Indian Ocean route.
Until the government’s decision to cut some taxes on fuel products, local dealers were wary of sending their trucks to Kenya for fuel for fear that of incurring losses.
To cover the gap created by this shortage, the government supplied at least 5million litres from its reserves as it waited for more supplies to arrive.
Despite the crisis, the Rwandan government was credited with maintaining the pump prices low compared to other countries in the region. One of the incentives is the recent announcement that it would sacrifice over 50 percent of taxes on import duty for oil products to keep the pump prices at the current Rwf 756 a litre.
Government also introduced fuel rationing with cars allowed to consume not more than 20 litres per day during the shortage. Drivers in Kigali had resorted to hoarding huge quantities of fuel in anticipation of further shortages.
Rwanda, Uganda, Eastern DR Congo and Burundi depend on supplies from Kenya – and have of recent experienced shortages that have forced pump prices to shoot up.
“The trucks are still on the way coming and we are working with the ministry on how we can solve this shortage permanently,” said a local fuel distributor only identified as Nduwimana yesterday.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga recently cast blame on his country’s major oil distributors whom he said are mainly multinational companies for refusing to release fuel with an aim of creating shortage.
Rwanda consumes 200,000 litres of fuel every day.