Energy Minister Christopher Yaluma says government plans to flood the market with more fuel to deal with the prevailing shortage of fuel. Mr. Yaluma has maintained that government sees no reason for the continued shortages that are being experienced especially in Lusaka.He attributed the shortage of fuel mostly in Lusaka to panic buying by motorists.
He was speaking in Parliament when he delivered a ministerial statement on the fuel supply situation in the country.
Mr. Yaluma said investigations by government have revealed that some filling stations had adequate fuel but have now run out due to panic buying which has been going on since Saturday.
The panicking buying resulted in an increase in the daily uplift of fuel from Lusaka fuel Depot from 300,000 litres to 600,000 litres of petrol per day.He said this is despite the country having enough fuel stocks at the Ndola terminal and the Lusaka depot.
Mr Yaluma said he held a fruitful meeting with Oil Marketing Companies today during which it was resolved that they increase the uplift of fuel stocks from the Lusaka depot with the aim of flooding the market to end the shortage.He said it is anticipated that before the end of this weeks the perceived shortage of fuel week come to an end.
Mr. Yaluma said disruptions in the supply of petrol are mainly concentrated in Lusaka and Kafue Districts.He said those areas where not supposed to be experiencing shortages as there is enough stock at Lusaka depot which feeds the southern circuit comprising of Eastern, Lusaka, Southern and Western provinces.
He added that as of 17:00 hours yesterday the Lusaka Depot had received fifteen trucks which translates in about 525,000 litres of petrol for Lusaka alone for sale to Oil Marketing Companies.
By 06:00 hours this morning the opening balance of petrol was at 2,583,000 litres for uplifting by Oil Marketing Companies and that 48 trucks carrying about 1.68 million litres of petrol were awaiting to offload.
And Mr Yaluma says government has directed the Energy Regulation Board to bring to book those who maybe unnecessarily hoarding fuel thereby creating an artificial shortage.
He added that Oil Marketing Companies that might be hoarding fuel in anticipation of an increase in fuel prices will end up selling it at an even cheaper price in the near future because government has no intentions of increasing the fuel pump price.