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FUEL SHORTAGE

Motorists queue for hours at stations as fuel shortage bites

"If the situation persists, there will be a shortage of other products in the market."

In Summary

•There have been long queues of motorists and boda boda riders at several petrol stations.

•A taxi operator who requested anonymity said the shortage had affected his daily trips and income.

Boda boda operators waiting for fuel at Shell V-Power, Westands, Nairobi on Tuesday Mid morning, April 12,2022
Boda boda operators waiting for fuel at Shell V-Power, Westands, Nairobi on Tuesday Mid morning, April 12,2022
Image: SHARON MWENDE

Despite the government announcing that fuel supply would return to normalcy after paying the oil marketers their dues, Kenyan motorists have continued to endure another week of major fuel shortages.

There have been long queues of motorists and boda boda riders at several petrol stations including the Shell V-Power Petrol Station in Westlands, Nairobi, which can be easily mistaken for normal traffic congestion.

In an interview with the Star on Tuesday mid-morning, Ken, a car owner, narrated how he waited for an hour at the petrol station, waiting to be served.

"I'm supposed to be at work, but I'm forced to wait to be served, which is wrong," he said.

"This is something the government should have taken care of, there is a lot of corruption going on," he added.

Ken said that the crisis is creating a ripple effect on the productivity and economic status of the country.

"Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is being affected as 90 per cent of people queuing here should be at work right now."

Motorists queue for fuel along Shell V-Power, Westands, Nairobi, on Tuesday, April 12,2022.
Motorists queue for fuel along Shell V-Power, Westands, Nairobi, on Tuesday, April 12,2022.
Image: SHARON MWENDE

A taxi operator who requested anonymity said the shortage had affected his daily trips and income.

"On a normal day, I would spend Sh1,500 on fuel and by 10 am,  I would have already recovered the money and made a profit due to the many trips I usually have between 4 am and 10 am. But now with the fuel crisis, I have so far gone for only two trips and it's already 11 am," he said. 

He requested President Uhuru Kenyatta to stop engaging in campaigns and deal with the issue of fuel shortage.

"Wakiendelea ivi, products zingine zitaanza kukosa kwa market. Uhuru tafadhali wachana na campaign, tuletee mafuta," he said.

Loosely translated to, "If the situation persists, there will be a shortage of other products in the market. Uhuru please stop campaigning and focus on the fuel crisis."

A boda boda operator decried the high cost of living, saying he had spent two hours queuing at a petrol station when he should have been working.

"The citizens are suffering. What do the government and oil marketers want us to do?" he posed.

The situation is similar in other parts of the country, with passengers and motorists missing family events and other important ceremonies due to the biting shortage.

Fuel outlets outside Nairobi started experiencing shortages over the weekend, with the scarcity being felt in the capital from Monday.

OLA Energy, Westlands, Nairobi, reported they only had diesel on April 12,2022
OLA Energy, Westlands, Nairobi, reported they only had diesel on April 12,2022
Image: SHARON MWENDE

OLA Energy at Westlands reported not having petrol at all and only serving customers who use diesel.

However, some matatu operators have reported not having experienced the long queues.

The crisis was anticipated to end last week when President Uhuru Kenyatta cleared Sh34 billion payments to oil marketers for their subsidy arrears.

Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said that the oil marketers were supposed to receive their payments last week on Tuesday.

Oil marketers linked the shortages to a lack of clarity on the fuel subsidy that the State introduced last April to stabilize prices amid suspicion of hoarding. 

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