Fuel shortage crisis looms following government directive

 

A meeting on Tuesday between the cabinet secretary for energy, Charles Keter, Kenya independent petroleum distributors association (KIPEDA) and other players failed to provide any solutions on the way forward.

The looming crisis was sparked by the Ministry of Interior recent directive barring petroleum tankers from ferrying fuel at night.

According to the directive, petroleum tankers are only supposed to be driven between 6.30 am and 6.30 pm.

Petroleum distributors issued a go-slow notice on Monday protesting the directing and calling for its suspension all together, citing police harassment and difficulties it poses to their work.

The truck owners also claimed they were not consulted before the curfew was enforced.

"We were not consulted as stakeholders before the curfew was issued, now we are making losses," The chairman of KIPEDA, Joseph Karanja told a local daily.

The strike risks paralyzing  distribution of fuel countrywide and as a result motorists may be forced to contend with long queues at petrol filling points, while some may be tempted to hoard fuel.

The law barring trucks and trailers from operating at night is however not new and has been in existence for a long time.

Licensing of Petroleum Road Transportation Business, Energy regulation act was introduced in January 1, 2014 effectively banning night travel for petroleum trucks, but has never been enforced.

Kenya’s oil petroleum industry is heavily dependent on trucking for the last-mile delivery of petroleum products, moving their cargo from different depots to the petrol stations.

The new directive is believed to have been triggered by last year’s horrific accident along Nairobi – Naivasha highway that left 40 people died.

A canter ferrying highly flammable substances lost control and rammed into a number of cars at the busy highway setting ablaze several commuter vehicles straddle in the traffic.

The government and petroleum industry stake holders are expected to hold another meeting on the contentious law this morning to prevent the stalemate from grinding the whole country to a halt, by stalling transport and economic activities.

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