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Burundi hit by gasoline crisis

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GLV report& Agencies

newsdesk@greatlakesvoice.com

Bujumbura, Burundi-Owners of cars and motorcycles whose engines use gasoline are complaining that their life has become “hard” amid the shortage of gasoline in the past 10 days throughout Burundi according to Chinese news Agency Xinnua.

“It has become difficult for me to get food for my family because since last week, I almost spend all my time lining up for gasoline at a petrol station instead of working,” Jean Marie Niyondavyi, a motorbike taxi rider, was quoted as saying.

Niyondavyi said, “Before the shortage of gasoline, I could earn at least 25,000 Burundi francs a day (nearly 16 U.S. dollars), but during the last 10 days, I hardly earn 10,000 francs (6 dollars) equivalent to the money I have to deposit every day at the account of my boss—the owner of the motorbike.”

According to Niyondavyi, if he pays 10,000 francs to his boss, this means that he “does not save anything” to feed his family of four including his wife and two children. His wife is jobless, he said.

Delphin Karikunziza, a driver of a taxi car, said his life has become “complicated” during the last couple of days for “disturbances” at gas stations.

“Before this oil shortage, I could earn 30,000 francs (some 20 dollars) per day and during weekends, I could get more than 40,000 francs (26 dollars),” Karikunzira said.

He said he is unmarried, but he is supporting his two younger brothers at a private school in the Burundian capital Bujumbura . He has to pay for their school fees.

By 1:00 p.m local time, Karikunzira said, “I have already spent about nine hours queuing for gasoline at this petrol station because I came here early in the morning at 4:00.”

He added that he was hopeless that night would come before he got gasoline for his taxi.

Only four stations were serving gasoline on Monday morning in Bujumbura .

Gasoline shortage is also a challenge in the countryside despite a promise made by officials at the Burundian Trade Ministry on Tuesday night.

Trade Director General Jeremie Banigwaninzigo told a press briefing that the gasoline shortage would be settled by the end of the week, arguing that the jam of ships containing oil products at Tanzania ’s Dar es Salaam Port had been resolved and that the first truckload of oil products would arrive in Bujumbura from Dar es Salaam by Friday.

“The first ship carrying oil products destined for Burundi was unloaded on Monday and loading lorries with oil started directly. We think that the lorries will be back here (in Bujumbura) by Friday and then gasoline will be served normally in the weekend,” Banigwaninzigo told reporters late Tuesday after officials at the Trade Ministry met oil importers.

Permanent Secretary at the Burundian Trade Ministry Patricie Rwimo on Monday told Xinhua that the ministry “does not have an updated situation of oil supplies at all petrol stations,” while indicating that six trucks belonging to Kobil Oil Company brought gasoline at the weekend.

“We don’t have yet an updated situation on the supply of gasoline that is concerned by the shortage. But I would like to inform you that six lorries belonging to Kobil Oil Company brought gasoline last weekend,” said Rwimo.

She said, “Kobil should have started serving that gasoline as soon it reached Bujumbura during the weekend.”

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