Dec 20, 2006

Zanzibar: Shortage of Petrol Hits the Island, Again

An acute shortage of petroleum products has hit the Island of Zanzibar. In the ensuing shortage, the price of petrol has spiraled high, negatively impacting on various business sectors.

Below is an article published by IPP Media:

An acute shortage of petroleum products has hit the Island of Zanzibar, negatively impacting on various business sectors.

In the ensuing shortage, the price of petrol has spiraled high and now retails at 2,000/-per litre on the black market, according to taxi operators. Normally, petrol retails at 1,400/- per litre on the Isles.

The shortage has caused widespread condemnation from proprietors of commuter buses and taxi drivers.

They have accused the Isles government of failing to regulate the sector, which has in the recent past been hit by regulator shortages.

GAPCO Manager Farikudin Taibali has attributed the scarcity to a delay by an oil tanker from Mombasa, Kenya, to deliver a consignment of petroleum products.

”The ship has been docking at Mombassa Port to load the petroleum,” Taibali said, adding; ”we expect the shortage to end on Friday when the ship docks at the Port of Zanzibar.”

In the past, the island has been experiencing a biting shortage of petroleum ahead of festive seasons like Christmas, Eid-el Hajj, and New Year holidays.

Amid the protests, the Deputy Minister of Energy and Lands, Taffana Kassim Mzee, has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensure the shortage of petroleum products is resolved permanently.

Kassim regretted that Zanzibaris have for long been dogged by a regular shortage of petroleum products, which he contented adversely affects the business sector and the overall performance
of the economy.

Zanzibar has had a shortage of petroleum at least four times this year, prompting hiking of the prices of the commodity.

Last week, light aircrafts suspended flights to Zanzibar International Airport, following acute shortage of Avigas jet fuel.

The airport had run short of jet fuel for two weeks consecutively.

The shortage subjected the Isles’ aviation industry and passengers to unprecedented inconveniences.

Avigas jet fuel is imported into the country by British Petroleum (BP) and is used to power light airplanes.

A year ago, BP stopped the importation of jet fuel in Zanzibar, citing unfair competition.

The shortage of jet fuel adversely affected the aviation industry and the entire economy.

Several airlines such as Zan Air and Tropical Air, which render flight services to and from Unguja, Pemba and the Mainland suspended operations.

According to BP-Tanzania External Affairs Manager Frederick Kibodya, the shortage was triggered by the failure by an oil tanker from Durban, South Africa, to dock at the port of Dar es Salaam.

The vessel, he said, had instead docked and offloaded the consignment at the port of Mombasa in Kenya.