Fuel shortage hits parts of Nairobi - PHOTOS - Daily Nation

Fuel shortage hits parts of Nairobi as VAT standoff persists

Thursday September 6 2018

Total petrol station

Total petrol station on Kimathi street Nairobi in Nairobi CBD had no fuel on September 6, 2018. Attendants said they were not sure when they would receive new stock. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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A biting fuel shortage has hit parts of the capital Nairobi as the strike called by petroleum transporters protesting against new government tax enters its fourth day.

A random check by the Nation at Total, Shell and Kenol Kobil stations within the central business district on Thursday morning revealed that many did not have petrol.

NO STOCKS

On Wednesday, many stations across the country reported dry pumps, with those with the precious commodity, mainly diesel, experiencing long queues of motorists seeking to fill up.

On Thursday, many lacked both diesel and petrol.

A customer service attendant at Total petrol station on Kimathi Street in the city centre, Mr Duke Masogo, told that Nation that they had run out of stock.

He said the crisis was likely to deepen because they do not intend to restock any time soon.

fuel crisis

A motorist stocks up some extra fuel at a shell station in Thika town. Most of the stations in the town have run out of fuel. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“I am not sure how long this situation will take, but we have not had petrol since last week,” said Mr Masogo.

The new stock, he said, would be taken in once the confusion around fuel prices is cleared by the government and other stakeholders.

Motorists who spoke to the Nation said their search for fuel in the capital had been long and fruitless.

Mr James Ithagu, a transport supervisor at a leading media house, said most stations in the city centre lacked petrol.

IMF

“I purposed to come to work early today to find petrol for the vehicles and ensure they are at fuel tank because most places did not have fuel as at last night. I fuelled at Total Prestige along Ngong road,” said Mr Ithagu.

Attendants at stations that lacked fuel, he said, told him that petrol quickly ran out  on Wednesday as the shortage started to bite.

fuel crisis

A Shell petrol station attendant in Buruburu controls vehicles on September 6, 2018. Motorists had to queue to get fuel because there were limited stocks. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Matatu drivers have also indicated that they have been experiencing difficulties in getting the said commodity in several stations.

However, outside the city centre and in areas such as City Cabanas along Mombasa Road, Ongata Rongai, Waiyaki Way and Ngong Road, petrol was available at Sh127 a litre.

The new 16 percent VAT has also triggered fare increases, especially for long-distance travel, while millers have announced plans to raise prices of wheat and maize flour.

In the Mt Kenya region, stations are running out of fuel following the ongoing strike by the distributors.

fuel shortage

A spot-check in Kisumu revealed that most stations had adequate stocks. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Thika, Kiambu County, some motorists were panic-buying petrol and diesel out of fear of pumps running dry.

In Tharaka-Nithi, a transport crisis is shaping up following shortage of fuel.

In Chuka town, the county’s main commercial centre, only few main fuelling stations had petrol and diesel on Thursday morning.

In Chogoria, Marimanti, Chiakariga, Mukothima, Kibunga, Magutuni and Kathwana towns, most of the pumps are dry and some vehicles are already grounded.

LOSSES

Speaking to the Nation, Mrs Njeri Mutegi, the owner of Mauru petrol station, one of the main retailers in the town, said her super petrol tank ran dry on Wednesday and she has no hopes of getting new stock.

fuel crisis

In Mombasa, there were long queues in some stations as motorists queued to fill up. This line was at Total petrol station in Makupa. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“I have been calling suppliers since yesterday evening when my tank dried up but it seems there is no hope of a restock,” she said.

She said she had already incurred a big loss and pleaded with President Kenyatta to sign into law the motion passed by the parliament to delay the implementation of the tax.

She noted that she fuels all Chuka County Referral Hospital vehicles and most of the school buses in the region and there are fears of ambulances being grounded.

“I sell at least 10,000 litres of petrol per week but if there will be no changes, I will have to remain idle,” she said.

Mr Joseph Kimathi, a taxi driver, said he had opted to ground his car until the crisis is over.

fuel crisis

A fuel station attendant empties the pump at Petro station in Mshomoroni, Mombasa. Some stations are experiencing shortages. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A litre of super petrol and diesel is retailing at Sh130 and Sh115, respectively, in the region.

In Isiolo, there was a mad rush as vehicles lined up to refuel at the Camel oil petrol station, the only station which had diesel as at Wednesday afternoon.

UHURU

Private vehicle owners and PSV operators who lined up to refuel asked the government to rescind its decision, saying the new tax has hit Kenyans hard.

The controversial, International Monetary Fund-fronted tax took effect on Saturday after Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich instructed Kenya Revenue Authority to effect it.

Last Thursday, the National Assembly passed the Finance Bill 2018, which seeks to defer the implementation of the tax contained in the Finance Act 2013.

The Act had deferred the VAT for three years after which the National Assembly in 2016 voted for another postponement for two year ending, August 31, 2018.

fuel crisis

In Kisii, motorists sought to fill up their tanks out of fear of shortages. PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Consequently, the new VAT on petroleum products took effect on September 1.

According to National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, the fuel tax charge on petroleum products will remain operational until the Finance Act 2013 is suspended further in line with a resolution passed by the House.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has 15 days to assent or return the Bill to the House with a memorandum outlining possible changes.

Reports by Maureen Kakah, Alex Njeru and Vivian Jebet.