By Sanna Camara
Officials of the Gambia’s leading importer of petroleum in the country, Gampetroleum, have confirmed reports that fuel supplies will be available in the country today to fill in the huge demand for the commodity in the country.
This confirmation came in reaction to our yesterday’s story on ‘general scarcity’ decried by oil marketing companies. An insider at the Gampetroleum Company informed this reporter that fuel will be available in the country within 24 hours.
To verify the claim, we contacted the management of Gampetroleum yesterday afternoon. Mr Ralph Matta, logistics manager, stated that: “Tomorrow, everyone will have fuel. You can go to any station tomorrow and you will have fuel.”
Scarcity could lead to increment
Asked to explain whether it was a delay in the arrival of the supplies or whether it was something else that caused the delay, Mr Matta maintained that he cannot explain that. “I am not the right person to speak about that,” he said, referring this reporter to Mr Manhal Oueidat, who he said, is in position to answer all our questions.
Mr Oueidat, who was not in office at the time, could not be reached for further comments up to the time of going to press yesterday. However, if it turns out to be true, the availability of fuel will help normalise the serious fuel situation in town, and water down growing speculations that its scarcity could lead to increment in the price of fuel, and consequently, taxi fares.
Fuel consumers like car owners and drivers, generator users and others have been desperately searching for fuel around the Greater Banjul Area to meet their daily energy needs. They moved on foot, ride bicycles and drove cars from one pumping station in Greater Banjul Area to another, in a frantic effort to acquire fuel for their use.
A general fuel shortage in town?
Mr. Modou Panneh, downstream manager of the national petroleum retailing company, GNPC,said that there is a general fuel shortage in town. “As far as I know, there is general fuel shortage in town. That is why our stations got closed,” he said, when contacted yesterday to shed light on why there was no business at their stations.
Mr. Mama Tambia Jammeh, of GNPC said: “As at now, we are like all other oil marketing companies (OMCs) in The Gambia. We all buy from Gampetroleum at the Mandinari depot. However, we can only buy when the fuel is available,” said Mr. Jammeh, noting that they are not licensed to import fuel into the country.