EDITORIAL: Somebody should pay for artificial fuel crisis - Daily Nation

Somebody should pay for artificial fuel crisis

Wednesday May 4 2011

The fuel crisis that has persisted for several days is a serious indictment of the government and must be dealt with most urgently, for it reeks of a deliberate sabotage of structures within the supply chain.

Fuel shortages have far-reaching economic, social and even political ramifications.

This is the kind of thing that easily galvanises consumers into revolt.

Clearly, what is happening is a deliberate plan to allow dealers to rip off consumers by charging high prices, as witnessed in places like Nairobi on Wednesday.

And the saboteurs are not working alone — there is a cartel that extends from the Ministry of Energy right down to the outlets.

Why, for example, was an individual allowed to import fuel and cleared to fuel tankers, while other stocks were not being released into the market?

Whose fuel was it? Who allowed this?

Regrettably, as motorists queued for hours at the few petrol stations with the commodity, Energy permanent secretary Patrick Nyoike busied himself with sending out statements, saying the country had enough fuel stock.

For example, he explained that the Kenya Pipeline terminal had 66 million litres of petrol in the last six days, while the Kipevu Oil Storage facility had 44 million litres by on Wednesday morning.

Fine, but the question was: Why couldn’t the petrol stations receive the supplies?

In the meantime, oil transporters and marketers were blaming each other, while the Energy Regulatory Authority was totally at a loss.

What is happening is artificial shortage caused by players in the energy sector who are keen to make a killing.

They must be exposed and punished.

Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi and his team must take responsibility for this mess.