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Cars queue in a confused and zigzagging fashion snaking from a National Oil Company’s (NOC) gas station in Bambis.

Cars queue in a confused and zigzagging fashion snaking from a National Oil Company’s (NOC) gas station in Bambis. It is often noisy as drivers honk their horns in frustration, a scene that had been quite typical throughout Addis Abeba over the past week. The queues can be seen as early as 7:30am or as late as 9:00pm in the busier parts of the city.

At the root of it is the shortage of fuel, which is not new for Ethiopia. An increase in 10pc of demand annually, distribution problems and alleged widespread hoarding are the usual suspects. This time around, according to suppliers, it is a sudden spike in demand.

Explaining that the fuel shortage has been going on for the past few weeks, some suppliers suggest that the period between January and March is usually a peak demand season. Head of the Association of Petroleum Dealers believes that it must have been the three to four-day delay in the transport of petroleum from Djibouti as the price was adjusted this month — a nine percent increase that brought the price of a litre to 25.82 Br.

To their exasperation, the Association never received explanations from the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise, which says that all is well on their side. Instead, it points its finger at distribution problems, including illicit sales and hoarding by drivers who fear further price hikes. Still, it does not deny that demand in urban areas like Addis Abeba is growing exponentially, with the volume of imports having doubled from an average of 1.5 million litres a day this fiscal year compared to the previous.

But the explanations are of little consolation to drivers and commuters. On top of an increase in fuel prices, which has led to hikes in public transport fares and would have consequences on general inflation, they have to deal with gas stations that keep running out of fuel.

You can read the full story here .

PUBLISHED ON Feb 20,2021 [ VOL 21 , NO 1086]

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