- The ERC maintained that Kipeda Holdings Ltd’s operations will remain suspended until the strike is called off.
- In January 2017, a similar shortage scenario played out after petroleum distributors protested implementation of a law prescribing fuel transit time limits persist.
Long queues, frustrated drivers and outraged commuters defined the second day of the strike by a section of fuel suppliers protesting the 16 percent Value Added Tax on petroleum products.
The strike has triggered a fuel shortage, which now threatens to grind critical services to a halt, as most petrol stations stayed dry while those with the product limited motorists to between Sh1,000 and Sh200 worth of oil.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) made good it’s threat to cancel the licence of the Kenya Independent Petroleum Distributors Association (Kipeda), whose trucks had blocked major city fuel depots to prevent other suppliers from picking the product.
The ERC maintained that Kipeda Holdings Ltd’s operations will remain suspended until the strike is called off.
Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau, who had unsuccessfully tried to intervene on Wednesday afternoon, said the government had started providing security for other trucks willing to pick product from the major depots to avert a crisis.
Kipeda officials are said to have shouted at the soft-spoken Principal Secretary demanding that the VAT on fuel be reversed before they allow any truck to pick fuel for distribution to the stations.
“The strike only made impact because they were threatening other drivers, which is very immature since even the President whom they are asking to sign the amendment on the bill to postpone the tax is not yet back in the country. Why are they preventing those who want to work?” an enraged Mr Kamau told the Nation by telephone.
He added: “Anyway, trucks have been loading on all major depots today and we expect the situation to normalise between Saturday and Monday.”
Kipeda, which supplies petroleum products to independent retailers, had mobilised its members to paralyse operations at the major depots, especially the one on Nanyuki road near the Kenya Pipeline Company headquarters, causing an acute shortage since Wednesday.
Nairobi, which has the highest number of vehicle traffic, was hit most, as vehicles stalled on the road and long queues formed at the few petrol stations that had fuel.
Diesel was available in most of the stations but petrol had run out in most of the stations by Wednesday morning.
Drivers used containers, including the usually prohibited plastic ones, to buy fuel for their stalled vehicles as the situation worsened from Tuesday.
Others pushed their stalled cars to the petrol stations only to be told there was no more fuel available.