The Ministry of Mine and Energy said on Tuesday the 24th August, 2022 that Burundi has supplied 25 million litres of fuel to solve transportation issues that Bujumbura has been going through for the past weeks.
“Gas stations are expected to start distributing fuel from 26th August,” said Léonidas Ndayishimiye, spokesperson to the Mine and Energy ministry.
According to him, the shipment came in a bid to find solutions to transportation turmoil in Bujumbura city.
Asked whether the government will continue importing the petrol, the spokesperson said that the effort has come to alleviate the fuel crisis. “Private companies will continue to supply the fuel as usual”.
Burundi, added Ndayishimiye, has almost increased its fuel consumption for the past years. “Its biggest portion goes to private companies especially hydropower plants under construction countrywide,” he said.
Before, Burundi needed USD 13 million for 20 million litres. Due to rise of consumption and prices at the global market, it has almost doubled to between 25 million to 30 million liters, he added.
Many long lines of cars have been observed at many gas stations across the country for the past three months.
For drivers, they have been spending three days queueing on the pump.
“I have been here for 2 days. From Monday, I am not working. My family is already a victim of this problem. The landlord is chasing me out,” said Djuma, a driver met at Kamenge market.
These days, transportation is becoming hard. Drivers have to use the fuel wisely. Most them stop working at 4 p.m. so they get petrol for the following day.
“I can’t work the whole day. I have to stop around 5 p.m. so that I can continue to work tomorrow,” said Karorero, a driver at Gatumba bus park.
Hence, long queues have been observed at bus parks in the city center till 10 p.m. as people look weary.
“In the morning I came to work trekking. After a hectic day, I feel like I can’t go back home on foot. Unfortunately, there is no bus,” said Ange Marie Bukuru met near Le Parisien market trying to get a taxi.
Commodity prices spiked
The scarcity of fuel has led to a higher inflation across the country. As a result, Commodity prices have soared.
“Before, I would pay BIF 5 000 as a bus fare from Bujumbura to Cibitoke to purchase tomatoes, but now the bus ticket has almost tripled. The fare ranges between BIF 12 000 and BIF 15 000,” said Jean Nyandwi, a Bujumbura resident who sells tomatoes. This bus fare has forced me to revise the prices, he concluded.
For experts, Burundi needs around USD 300 million a year for fuel.
They pledge the removal of monopoly in the sector by allowing as many provate companies as possible to import fuel so as to keep the prices competitive.
“The main cause behind the fuel scarcity is due to international foreign currency shortages,” says Faustin NDIKUMANA, an economic expert.
Some believe that the Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye walked the talk when he promised, on the 30th of July this year, to curb fuel crisis within only one month.
The story was written by Muhamad NIMBONA Fellow at Inside Burundi, edited and approved for publication by Egide H. Ngenzebuhoro.