It has been a while since my last post, please bear with me, I am still trying to settle into a new routine in my life.
In the past one week, Tanzania has been experiencing a man-made fuel crisis. Major fuel importers, distributors and retailers have decided to go on strike, protesting the scale-down in fuel prices announced by the Government.
This strike has had a huge impact in the day to day life of a hard-working, low paid Tanzanian. The price of the fuel now ranges between Tsh 3000-5000. The price of common staple foods has gone up. People with cars have had to park them, some are neither able to get to their workplaces nor take their kids to school. The fare of local buses, daladala, has gone up to Tsh 500 per trip. Emergency medical services are also hampered.
This artificial fuel crisis has turned into a battle between the suppliers and the Government. While the Government is adamant on the new prices, the suppliers are stressing that they will not offer the service at a “loss”.
It is unfortunate that the Government had allowed the oil importers and suppliers to grow horns untamed. The Government allowed the cartel to get out of hand, making them think that they are above the Government and they can pretty do whatever they want. The Government should not let this happen. Whatever their aggriviences are, they were supposed to continue offering services while negotiating with the Government or take it to the higher level of appeal mechanisms.
I want the Government to be firm on this matter. Following the 24 hours ultimatum issued by the Government, it should be followed by revoking of business licences of all dissenting importers and suppliers. The Government should then confisticate the fuel that they have been hoarding. The Government needs to send a clear message to the cartel that it is in control. In the meantime, efforts should be made to enable the newly registered national fuel supply company to order and supply fuel.
The Government needs to show leadership on this matter. The Governmental was slow in reacting and informing the public. The next 24 hours will be critical. The public will be anxiously waiting to see what the Government will do next. This is a litmus test to the Government. I hope and pray that it will come up on top.
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