Fuel Shortage Hits Juba

This article was last updated on May 25, 2022

The current fuel crisis in Juba follows reports that the government has stopped allocation of hard currency to fuel companies.

This comes despite a fall in the exchange rate for dollars in the black market. Until last month the selling price of dollars in the black market hit up to 5.5 South Sudan Pounds (SSP) per dollar. But of recent the rate has dropped to 4.4 SSP per dollar following speculation that oil production is about to resume and government efforts in allocating hard currency to traders.

Gurtong has surveyed twelve petrol stations in Juba and only found two are functioning with the rest closed.

There are at least 30 petrol stations in the Capital, Juba.  Most of the stations have completely running out of diesel in their stocks.

Iban Watonyi is the Managing Director of Delta Petroleum South Sudan Limited. He has closed down his station saying there is no dollar allocation and is lacking hard currency to import fuel.

“The fault I learnt by surprise is that government has stopped the dollar allocations it used to give the fuel companies,” Watonyi said.

He said the allocations were stopped last month and government could not explain reasons as to why the sudden decision was taken.

“We were trying to persuade things through Nilepet Petroleum but there is nothing,” he added.

Nilepet Petroleum is a company attached to the government responsible for coordinating issues between the private companies and the government.

There are fears that the crisis is likely to intensify as South Sudan lack hard currency following the shut down of her oil production the only export that brings dollars to the country.

Efforts to reach officials of the Central Bank for clarifications were futile. The Deputy Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning Dr  Marial Awou could not confirm to Gurtong the government position when contacted denying it is the Central Bank which is in charge of the allocations.

However, the Deputy Mayor David Lokonga said his office was taken by surprise this week after receiving endless calls about the emerging fuel crisis in the town. Lokonga said the Town Council is tasking a committee to make exclusive investigations in to the crisis.

He said in the previous months, fuel companies had taken the crisis an added advantage by denying there was no fuel despite availability of the commodity.

Some companies were indefinitely shut down as they were discovered selling the fuel in black market.

Following the shut down of the oil production just after two months, South Sudan experienced hard fuel crisis as importers lack hard currency to go and import fuel and other commodities from other East African countries.

Government intervention by allocating dollars to the importers rescued the situation.

Last week the South Sudanese Minister of Commerce warned unless the country intensify the various sectors in the country so as to have enough export to bring hard currency in the country, South Sudan is bound to experience the economic crisis for a long period of time.

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