Punish companies for artificial fuel shortages


Motorist and bodaboda riders scramble for fuel at a Murang'a petrol station in March. PHOTO | MARTIN MWAURA | NMG

Fuel shortage ahead of price reviews has almost become a norm. A day or two to every price review cycle, marketers hoard oil, creating unnecessary shortages and disrupting the market. This must stop.

As of Monday, several locations did not have Super petrol, suggesting oil marketing companies are deliberately holding back sales in anticipation of a price increase.

The oil regulator, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) should act to end these artificial shortages of petroleum products.

Hoarding is illegal and Epra should make good its threats and punish them as provided by the law under Section 99(1)(k) of the Petroleum Act No. 2 of 2019.

The law provides for a fine of not less than Sh1 million, a term of imprisonment of not less than one year, or both.

The shortage comes before the gazettement of new prices today at midnight.

To end this mischief, let Epra should demonstrate that it is no longer business as usual by revoking licenses of those hoarding oil every month. The speculative activity on the oil prices is destabilising the economy.