Both petrol and diesel may run out in Zambia by Wednesday. And the Watchdog has been informed that oil hikes announced by the ERB director last Thursday will be effected soon.
So far, Mazabuka district in Southern province and Kasama in the northern part of the country have run out of diesel. And motorists in Lusaka are queuing up for petrol which is drying up steadily.
A check this evening by the Watchdog at Arcades BP and most filling stations along the great east road showed that the commodity is running out.
And the Watchdog has been informed that Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) are not importing fuel due to low prices. Sources said that the OMC s wanted pump prices hiked for them to make profits.
But since government rejected the hike last Thursday, the OMC have also refused to import any.
Indeni refinery is on a one month routine maintenance and all fuel has to be imported until Indeni is back in operation.
Sources in the energy sector have revealed that the prices hikes announced by ERB director Lukonde Mfula were approved by the ERB board chaired by Sikota Wina, even though he later denied.
‘OMCs are not importing and if they don’t by Wednesday, the fuel will run out. That is the poistion,’ said a source.
On Thursday, Mfula announced that petrol would be increased by K1, 114 (19.15 %), Diesel, K548 (10.01 %) and Kerosene by K383, (10%).
The benchmark prices for Lusaka was intended to reflect at K6,026 for diesel, K6,932 petrol and K4,217 for Kerosene.
He said the price change had been necessitated by oil price increases on the international market and also the inclusion of a K65 per litre cost line that had been introduced to finance the cost of holding 15 days statutory operating stocks by all Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).
He further said the price review had also been necessitated by the importation of refined petroleum products during the on-going shutdown of Indeni Oil Refinery for its annual maintenance.
But Sikota later said that this was not true and the old prices remained in force.