A CRITICAL shortage of fuel has hit Kasama in the Northern Province with the black market taking advantage of the situation by increasing the prices to make a fortune as all the four filing stations have run out of the commodity.
But Energy permanent secretary Emelda Chola has assured Northerners that the country has enough fuel stocks and that the province will receive their supply by today.
A check by the Daily Nation yesterday found motorists fetching the commodity from the black market as the only source while some taxi drivers who could not manage to buy the commodity had packed their vehicles.
Kasama district commissioner Kelly Kashiwa explained that the persistent fuel shortages facing the district are as a result of dealers not meeting the demand as the four filling stations were servicing nine districts. He said the increase in the number of vehicles in the nine districts had exacerbated the situation as the existing fuel stations could not cope with demand thereby persisting fuels shortages in the area.
Mr Kashiwa said there was need for filling stations in the area to ensure that there was a steady flow of fuel by sorting out any logistical problems that existed in the distribution of the commodity from the depot which is over 200 kilometres away from Kasama.
He said as a temporary measure to the problem, filling stations needed to work towards keeping balanced and steady flow of fuel they were selling to the public by ensuring that they ordered for the fuel stocks in good time.
“We have four filling stations in Kasama which are servicing a total of nine districts and due to the increase in the number of vehicles in these districts, demand has outweighed supply and that is why we are having these shortages. We have the Kapiri depot that is supplying the dealers here but we are experiencing shortages from time to time because of the inadequacies in ordering the fuel,” Mr. Kashiwa said.
He however said the fuel shortage was a blessing in disguise as it presented investment opportunities which business houses could take advantage of by investing in filing stations.
Mr Kashiwa said as a long term measure, the local authority had made land available for the construction of the filing station to address the situation and called on potential investors to take advantage of the situation by setting up new filing stations to adequately supply fuel to meet the community’s demands.
“You know that government does not participate in selling fuel and so, what we are doing is to ensure that we create an enabling environment for those selling fuel to our people. As a long term measure, the local authority has identified land for the establishment of filling stations and some companies have already shown interest in setting up these facilities.
“Apart from that companies that have shown interest, there are members in the local community who have come together and will be setting up a filling station close to Kasama Boys secondary School because they have seen this as a viable business opportunity to provide a service to the people in their community,” he said.