Raila Odinga faults oil marketers for hoarding fuel

ODM leader Raila Odinga. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has faulted oil marketers for holding back stock amid the ongoing nationwide fuel shortage.

Raila, who Wednesday met various stakeholders drawn from the petroleum sector pointed out that the challenge we are seeing is that of monopoly, where large oil firms are hoarding petroleum products, in turn causing a ripple effect.

He likened the crisis to when wholesalers hold stocks from retailers.

“We now have these issues of monopoly. You are the wholesaler and want to retail at the same time. We have big wholesalers competing with the small retailer…Is that really fair?” Raila posed.

Raila noted that much as the fuel crisis is a global issue, Kenya ought to be prepared to handle such emergencies.

He said that the Government is working towards cushioning the consumer, appealing for the need to immediately address the issue of strategic oil reserves.

“We need to have oil reserves not only at the port but also inland. They need to be put up in places where they are not vulnerable,” he added.

The ODM leader hopes to meet and discuss the issue further with officials of the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and come up with a roadmap of how to handle such events in the future.

“All the stakeholders in this country need to sit down and work on a permanent solution. This is a situation that is avoidable,” he urged.

The government last week through the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) warned Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) of sanctions against hoarding petroleum products.

“OMCs, depot, and retail station operators are hereby cautioned that in accordance with Section 99(1)(k) and 99(1)(n) of the Petroleum Act 2019, it is an offence punishable by law to hoard petroleum or to sell above the published price,” EPRA said.

On Monday, Petroleum and Mining Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau however blamed Kenyans’ panic-buying habits and small-scale fuel dealers’ financial indiscipline on the fuel crisis.