In Botswana, fuel shortages have gripped the nations capital Gaborone and some parts of the country for the past few weeks. The shortage started when leaded petrol (fuel) was recently phased out for unleaded petrol. Sources say motorists who had been waiting in long queues had no choice but to abandon their trips and go home. The government, however, sharply disagrees with the news of the shortage, reassuring the public that there is enough fuel for all. It says it is watching the situation and that it was not yet time for stringent measures.
Charles Tibone is Botswana’s Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water resources. Speaking with English to Africa Reporter Peter Clottey, Tibone said,” As you may know, we have been moving from leaded fuel to unleaded and this has been under preparation for some time. And the refineries, which we use, are located in South Africa and when the move to lead replacement fuel was put into effect at the beginning of the year, these refineries had to had to do a conversion. And when they then started producing lead replacement fuel, they did not produce it to the quantities that were adequate to meet demand. But these quantities are enough to keep all of us going in the countries that are depending on those refineries. It’s a few filling stations here and there which do not have enough fuel but otherwise the situation is near normal”.
Speaking about measure being put in place to address the shortages, Tibone said,” The measures were arranged through the petroleum industry through the companies that do the supply. We as a government do not order fuel directly. We only get it through the private sector and the private sector had contingency plans, which we were briefed on. And we were satisfied that these plans could sustain us through the transition from leaded fuel to lead replacement”. He added that there would be a few “hiccups here and there,” but there is adequate fuel for all.