Fuel Shortage causes havoc in Freetown
The long lines for fuel in Freetown are starting to diminish after a fuel shortage which rocked the city for the last several days.
Motorists have endured long lines since last Friday as local petrol stations ran out of fuel. As of Monday, only National Petroluem (NP) and Total outlets had fuel. There appeared to be no shortage of diesel fuel.
Reportedly, the shortage of fuel is due to delays in shipments to the country.
Taxi, poda-poda, motorbike drivers and business owners said they were frustrated over the petrol shortage and efforts to reach the Director of the National Petroluem Unit and the Minister of Trade and Industry on Monday went unheard.
â€œI waited six hours at Total (Sunday) to buy fuel,â€ said Osman Kargbo, a taxi driver on line at Total station at Brookfieldâ€™s. He added that he could not drive his taxi on Saturday because he refused to buy fuel from the black marketers, who are taking advantage of the shortage and selling the fuel at Le17, 500 far above the normal price of Le 15,500.
Kargbo said that if the shortage of fuel continues, things will be difficult for taxi drivers, who have recently seen petrol prices rise from Le15,000, prompting and increase in fares.
Due to the current petrol shortage, poda-poda and taxi drivers on Sunday unilaterally increased the cost of transportation by Le100. Passengers paid Le1,000 from Lumley to Regent Road instead of Le900.
People with empty gallon containers who went to buy fuel at NP were turned him away. People were told to bring generators to the fuel station so that petrol could be pumped direct into the generators.
One of the dealers at NP said they deliberately refused to sell to people with containers because most of them are black marketers.
Students, pupils and commuters had difficulty getting to the centre of town on Monday because of a limited number of vehicles on the streets because the shortage hindered drivers from working.
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