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Petrol tanks dry up in Nairobi

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – The crippling fuel shortage in Nairobi continued for the fourth day running, despite government reassurance of sufficient fuel stocks in the country.

Most filling stations in the city ran out of petrol forcing motorists to queue for hours after claims that they were about to be re-supplied.

A cross section of motorists interviewed by Capital News said they had queued for over two hours, while others had not made it to work by 10am on Wednesday morning.

“I have been queuing for over three hours and I’m yet to make it to work this morning. The government should step in and improve the situation, as it is not right,” a motorist said.

Nairobi has experienced a petrol shortage since Sunday but the government said there was approximately 17.3 million litres of fuel products at the Kenya Pipeline Company depots.

In a statement, Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike said despite availability of adequate stocks of supper petrol in both Nairobi and Mombasa, oil marketing companies did not request the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) to pump the product between April 29 and May 2.

“Both KPC and KRA (Kenya Revenue Authority) would have availed requisite staff over this period to attend to any requests by the oil marketing companies, had such requests been made,” Mr Nyoike said.

Where fuel was available, motorists were forced to pay a little extra for a litre of fuel. At Shell filling stations, motorists are paying as much as Sh121.10 for a litre of V-power petrol as most lacked stocks for super petrol.

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The motorists however said they were ready to pay a premium price for fuel products so long as they make it to their destinations.

“I don’t care if the price is high so long as I move,” motorist John Owuor said.

However, some petrol station owners said the situation was being made worse by panicking motorists who dash to the nearest stations where they see a re-filling truck.

On Wednesday morning, Nairobi Provincial Police chief Anthony Kibuchi said the traffic situation was made worse on Tuesday night by rogue motorists who were overlapping unnecessarily in and around the city.

Roads leading to various city suburbs were clogged for hours, in the chaos that progressed until about 2am in some areas.

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