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South Sudan faces acute fuel shortage

June 20, 2017 (JUBA) – Fuel shortage in South Sudan worsened on Tuesday amid reports of massive corruption in the national oil supplier, Nile Petroleum (NilePet), with a liter costing 110 South Sudan Pound, the highest price for gasoline ever recorded.

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Motorcycles line up for hours to get fuel before it runs out July 18, 2012 in Juba, South Sudan. (Getty)

Early this week, commuters and public transport system were paralysed in the capital Juba and government departments closed.

A government administrator said his ministry’s offices remained closed this week, due to shortage of fuel to power the generator.

"We have sent many, very many letters to NilePet requesting fuel for our generator for the last three weeks but never got a single litter because we did not pay bribes. A liter costs 22 SSP at the station but you have to pay extra 8 SSP per litter and extra 5,000 SSP to the national security to escort the fuel tank to the ministry," the ministry official, who asked not to be identified, told Sudan Tribune Tuesday.

NilePet imports fuel from neighbouring East African countries since oil producing South Sudan has no oil refinery, but only one-third of fuel demands is covered and sold at official price of 22 SSP per litter, a quarter of the black market price of about 160 SSP or $1 per litter. But on Tuesday, a liter of petrol reached its highest level ever.

"Right now, water bottle of one and half litters costs 220 SSP. That means, a litter is sold at least 140 SSP," said Peter, a taxi driver.

Mary Achai, a black market dealer, confirmed the souring price, attributing it to lack fuel and rising prices of food items in the market.

"We [black market dealers] buy this fuel from the Security [officials] at a very price and had to make a little profit," explained Achai.

NilePet has, however, denied manipulating fuel supplies for it benefits and in a statement issued on Tuesday said several fuel tanks were heading to Juba from Nimule at South Sudan- Uganda border.

In various locations of the South Sudanese capital, the average price for a litter of fuel went for 115 SSP, which is six times the official price.

(ST)