Zambia plans to triple petrol supply to 900,000 litres a day using imported stocks in its storage depots after panic buying by motorists led to shortages in the capital, the energy minister said on Wednesday.
Christopher Yaluma told parliament that petrol supply to the capital and outlying areas was doubled to about 600,000 litres per day this week but shortages persisted.
“In the last few days the country has been experiencing shortages of fuel, particularly petrol but we have enough stocks to meet demand,” Yaluma said.
“We are going to flood the market, we have asked the oil marketing companies to triple their uptake,” Yaluma said.
He said the shortage could have been caused by some oil marketing companies suspected of hoarding their petrol supplies in anticipation of a price hike, adding that the government would not increase the price of petrol.
Yaluma also dismissed concerns that the shortages had been caused by the temporary shut-down of the country’s only refinery, saying the facility only added about 100,000 litres of petrol to the total daily supply.
Yaluma said the Indeni refinery – located in Ndola, more than 300 km (180 miles) north of Lusaka – was shut on Sunday after running out of crude oil but would resume by Friday.