There has been acute shortage of diesel in the country for the past two days, affecting all commuters, particularly workers and students within the Greater Banjul Area who have been finding it very difficult to reach their workplaces and schools.
Since Tuesday 26th February, long queues of both commercial and private vehicles are visible at various filling stations in the country whose drivers are anxiously waiting to buy diesel but for some to no avail.
Commercial drivers who spoke to Front Page International (FPI) highlighted the constraints caused by the situation. A 24-seater vehicle locally called Gelleh-gelleh driver which plies the Banjul-Tabokoto route said since yesterday, he has being finding it very difficult to have diesel.
“Usually, I close from work or leave the traffic by 8:00 pm but yesterday I closed even before 3:00 pm,” he said.
Sheikh Njie, a taxi driver, lamented that he could not make much profit in the past two days as before because he did not have enough diesel to continue in the traffic for the whole day, as he used to do.
“My diesel was finished and I have been to different filling stations to buy some litres so as to continue in the traffic but to no avail,” he said.
“I only hope that this is not an intended hoarding just to create artificial scarcity so as to increase the price.”
Mr Babucarr Njie, sales manager of the Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC), one of the filling stations in the country, confirmed the shortage of diesel in the country. He further informed FPI that the shortage is as a result of a breakdown to the ship bringing diesel to the country.
Diesel available for only corporate customers
However, it seems there is no lack of diesel completely in the country as some fuel stations have it but are only selling it to their customers with coupon, corporate customers.
“Since we do not have enough diesel, we are prioritizing our customers with coupon first though we are selling to other customers as well,” Mr Njie of GNPC said. “And we are still selling at the same price.”
Meanwhile, most gas stations across the country have been turning customers away, at a time when the price of diesel, gas oil and kerosene are reportedly increased and in limited supply.
What has made the situation worst is that so far neither the government nor suppliers have made any public statement regarding the fuel scarcity.
“Every effort must be deployed to ensure that the situation is brought under control so as to avoid dealers increasing the prices of fuel unnecessarily,” a local economic correspondent told FPI.
“There must also be concrete measures and strategies to ensure that there is enough reserve to avert future occurrences of fuel scarcity in the country,” he added.