Reprieve at last as Fuel Supply Resumes

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Normalcy was on Thursday restored in a number of filling stations across Nairobi as supplies trickled into fuel outlets.

A spot check in a number of outlets Thursday afternoon revealed an influx of motorists lining up to buy fuel whose scarcity had triggered snarl-ups at filling stations earlier.

The scramble for the product was evident at a Shell outlet in Fedha along Outer Ring Road where a bare-knuckle almost ensued among boba boda operators who had lined up to refill their fuel tanks.

“We didn’t have fuel since yesterday (Wednesday) despite traversing a number of stations but this afternoon we’re lucky that the supply is back. The government however needs to reconsider the issue of VAT on fuel,” a motorist is quoted to have said by a local media house.

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The resumption of normalcy at fuel centres was preceded by a mid-morning intervention by a contingent of General Service Unit officers who flushed out dealers staging protests at a fuel depot in Industrial Area.

The wholesalers under Kenya Independent Petroleum Distributors Association (Kipeda) had vowed to disrupt the distribution of fuel in protest of a 16 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products which took effect on Saturday.

Police officers were seen escorting fuel trucks out of the Industrial Area depot Thursday morning. Josphat Kamau, a truck driver working for Shell fuel stations had told a local journalist that fuel supply would resume shortly following intervention by the police.

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“The police officers cleared the barricades and we were able to fill our trucks. The product will be available at our stations shortly,” he said.

A police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said they had firm instructions to ensure only drivers refilling their tanks had access to the depot.

“We’re not going to entertain any monkey business around here,” he hurriedly said, declining to be quoted. The operation followed cancellation of a licence issued to Kipeda Holdings Limited, an entity responsible for the wholesale of petroleum products in the country, by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

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ERC, in a statement on Wednesday evening cited economic sabotage by KIPEDA Holdings Limited.

According to ERC, the firm was behind an elaborate intimidation scheme that has seen fuel transporters stage a strike over the implementation of the 16pc VAT on petroleum products, a strike which triggered fuel shortages in Nairobi and Mombasa.

ERC cited Section 85 of the Energy Act (2006) in revoking the licence held by KIPEDA Holdings Limited.

“The Commission wishes to inform members of the public that the action by Kipeda Holdings Limited amounts to economic sabotage and hereby cancels the licence of the said licensee pursuant to Section 85 of the Energy Act No. 12 of 2006,” ERC stated.

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