The prominent shortage of kerosene in the country cannot go without comment. It is sad to see people spending not only one night but several cold nights at the filling stations just to buy paraffin, as if making it expensive due to removal of subsidy is not punishment enough. What the government must realise is that kerosene apart from being of household use is a source of income for many poor Zambians out there. Kerosene is big business and a livelihood for many that have created an industry of making floor polish. This polish is a cheaper alternative for the majority who cannot afford cobra from the supermarkets. They also use it for cooking, heating and as a source for lighting energy. With limited access to electricity, Kerosene provides a real alternative in rural communities.
Imagine a trader from the outskirts walking a long distance to the boma as he now can’t afford the bus fare, only to be told that “paraffin yasila!”(Paraffin has run out). This man has a lone shop which survives on the sell of kerosene. In return the rest of the community suffer as they depend on his shop for fuel.
It is not unacceptable that the removal of subsidy on fuel presents a shortage in kerosene. In normal circumstances because the price has gone up demand would have decreased because of high prices. In this instance its double trouble for the common zambian. They have to pay more for their transport, pay more for the kerosene and to crown it all spend nights at the buying points as it is not readily available.