Zambia accuses oil suppliers of hoarding fuel
Energy minister dismisses reports of imminent fuel shortage, says local prices could rise due to int'l prices
Zambia on Wednesday lashed out at oil marketing companies and suppliers in the country, accusing them of hoarding fuel.
In a statement from the capital Lusaka, Energy Minister Peter Kapala dismissed rumors of an imminent fuel shortage in the southern African nation, saying that discussions between the government and its contracted suppliers had been fruitful and that fuel had been delivered to depots to meet demand.
He said that one of the measures that the government had taken was to reallocate fuel contracts from suppliers that had been unable to fulfill their obligations to those that had "demonstrated positive performance."
"There is no reason for the public or motorists to panic regarding the fuel supply situation in the country as the government has put up measures to ensure secure supply of the commodity," added Kampala.
Zambia's daily fuel consumption averages at 2 million liters (530,000 gallons) of diesel, 1 million liters of petroleum, and 800,000 liters of kerosene.
An energy importer, the country relies on raw materials imports from the Middle East to be refined locally at the country's state-owned refinery.
This 50-year-old facility is located in the Copperbelt Province, 260 kilometers (162 miles) from Lusaka, and has recently been the subject of reports of a planned sale by the government, a claim that Energy Minister Kapala vehemently denies.
Insisting that the country has sufficient fuel stocks, the official said that more of the commodity was earmarked to be offloaded at different reserve depots, with sporadic fuel supplies normalizing.
Kapala added that fuel prices on the international market had risen by between 60% and 66% since January 2021 and that this would have an impact on local pump prices since contracts for the supply and delivery of fuel were procured using foreign currency.