As this year’s festive season begins, Kigali is facing fuel shortages and forcing many car owners to leave their vehicles packed at home, and use public buses or the Kigali trademark, the Moto to conduct their daily businesses.
The buses and motos are currently enduring long queues at many petrol stations around the city in the evenings as they fill up for the next day.
A disagreement between a cartel of fuel importers in the country and government is causing this misery. Apparently, fuel importers were displeased by the recent reduction in the prices of fuel.
The decision to reduce fuel costs was reached after negotiations between government and the importers. Documents were signed, and photos were taken. The press was invited, good news had to be told and shared.
As can be expected in the hustling world of the petrol dollar, a few weeks after the drama above unfolded. Government and petrol investors were back at the negotiating table.
At the beginning of this week, the monthly meeting between the two sides was locked in a stalemate as fuel importers were unrelenting in their determination to charge a higher rate per average costs, a point which government objected to.
The point of contention is a mid ground price at which to sell a litre of fuel at petrol stations. The government insists on one and the importers want another.
Not only are the importers finding this kind of talk bothering, they also refuse to understand it. As ever the case with these things, the involvement of the press in the matter was limited to press conferences.
The talk of inflation and pump prices has left many in our great Kigali and beyond wondering! At a recent introduction ceremony in Kamembe town in western province, the small talk left some in the brides entourage wondering.
Their deliberations were captured by our correspondent Sikiofupi. He presents excerpts below:
Mtupu: If the government is concerned about commodity prices and inflation, why don’t they hold negotiations with land lords in the country, supermarkets, restaurants and private sector employees? These are the people in dire need of inflation lectures.
Msani: Who cares about prices of commodities, the Rwanda Bureau of Standards?
Mteja: Who cheats the consumers in this country? Is it government through high taxes, or investors? We should ask the private sector federation? Huh, don’t mention that, what do they do? Hire consultancies and advocate.
Mhudumu: Today my supervisor asked me to clean up the ‘salle’. He said that people in clean black suits, white shirts and red ties from Kigali are coming during the weekend to discuss development indicators in Rwanda.
They will be escorted by other more ‘savvy’ people from The World Bank to release a report showing indicators of growth in the country for 2007-8. I will inform you of anything they talk about.