Thursday, 2 June 2011


The recurrent fuel shortage year in, year out has reached a point that it is exasperating and permanent solution should be sought by the various stakeholders.
Fuel shortage is not a new phenomenon in Kenya and another episode has just ended after week long of scarcity           .Last week saw, Mombasa and Nairobi being faced with an acute shortage of fuel. Motorists had to queue for several hours just to get that precious commodity. Some consumers ended up reaching home as late as 1am.Kenya Pipeline Company and Kenya Refineries Ltd had about 5900000 litres of oil just before the festive season. The government alleged that the oil companies didn’t apply for new stock since they were anticipating tax reduction so that they could buy it on low price hence leading to acute shortage of oil. In Mombasa, some of the oil marketers were accused by the residents of hoarding the product. I have already stressed how unethical hoarding is in my previous article.
The high cost of living has already caused enough stress to the mwananchi and when coupled with shortage of the black gold which is also expensive, it becomes too much for one to handle. I would blame the reoccurrences of this situation upon the country’s poor planning and the ubiquitous corruption in the energy sector which shall be a discussion for another day. This is not the first time we are experiencing this debacle. The country’s policies and strategic plans tend to be short term and cannot be viable in the long run. It concentrates only the immediate demands leaving out future demands thereafter leading to shortage.
The petroleum industry requires a complete audit to find out where the problem is. The respective stakeholders should come together to discuss the findings, recommendation and implement the solutions so as to create a conducive environment for each one of us. Millions of money is lost when there is slight delay in the manufacturing industries because lack of fuel and not to mention the transport sector. I have two recommendations: first, the Kipevu Storage facility in Mombasa should be expanded to have room for more oil. Could we be affected by the current high oil prices if we could have bought oil say for the next two years? The additional space would have stored the excess thus the prices would have been normal since we would have a buffer. Secondly, the planning should focus on the current demand and the future demands too. The time has come for us to find a long term solution lest we continue to suffer year in, year out.