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Fuel supplies topped up in Juba amid severe shortages

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October 20, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s ministry of petroleum and mining over the weekend provided fuel to 18 stations in Juba, which it says would supply the capital for a week.

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A photo showing a long queue at a fuel station in Juba on Saturday Oct. 18, 2014 (Photo ST).

“The ministry of petroleum and mining assures the public that there is now enough [fuel] to last for a week,” the ministry said in a press statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Monday.

The fuel was imported by the state-owned National Oil and Gas Corporation (Nile Pet), which also distributed diesel and petrol to stations, although the company did not specify the volumes supplied.

Acute fuel shortages hit Juba last Thursday and Friday, paralysing transport and resulting in long queues at fuel stations across the capital.

Although South Sudan produces crude oil, it lacks refinery facilities and thus relies on imports of fuel from neighbouring countries.

The closure of the South Sudan-Uganda border on Tuesday day following a dispute over clearing and forwarding agents in Nimule is thought to have led to fuel stations drying up.

A litre of diesel or petrol is fixed at six South Sudanese pounds (SSP), with sellers prohibited from increasing prices.

However, there is an emerging trend in Juba of so-called ‘black market fuel’, sold at higher prices, with officials describing the practice as unacceptable.

“We would like to tell the public not to buy fuel in bulk and keep it in their houses,” said Ajak Bior, the press secretary in the office of petroleum minister, Stephen Dhieu.

“We expect other independent fuel agents that have been allocated letters of credit (LC) by Nile Pet to import fuel into the country and bridge the remaining gap before the end of this week,” he added.

An LC authorises commercial banks to provide the stated amount of US dollars to particular businesses intending to import items abroad.

(ST)

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