No fuel: Chipata transport fees hiked

Taxi operators in Chipata have hiked fares by almost one hundred percent, following the petrol shortage that has hit the district.
A ZANIS snap survey yesterday revealed that the taxi drivers are now charging between K 15, 000-00 and K 20, 000-00 for a distance which was costing K 10,000-00.
Nicholas Zulu, a taxi driver, said operators were forced to hike the fares because they were buying petrol from the black market at an exorbitant price.
Mr. Zulu said a 2.5 litre container of petrol which was fetching less than K 30,000-00 at filling stations was being sold at K 40, 000-00 at the black market.
Mr. Zulu observed that some drivers were crossing into the neighbouring Malawi to buy petrol while some were buying from fuel dealers on the black market.
Since last week, Chipata has been experiencing a shortage of petrol in all the four filling stations but government maintained that the shortage of the commodity country-wide was being exaggerated as there were no problems at Indeni Oil Refinery, which is the main supply.
Energy Permanent Secretary, George Zulu speaking to Breeze FM, a local radio station in Chipata yesterday said that fuel stocks would improve by yesterday evening.

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