Lack of security, monitoring to blame for fuel shortage: Minister

Minister of Petroleum Osama Kamal attributed the current diesel fuel crisis to the lack of monitoring and security as well as rumors that lead to hoarding and sales on the black market.

Microbus drivers on Sunday blocked streets in several governorates across Egypt to protest fuel shortages.

At the official level, the president of Misr Petroleum and the deputy of operations at the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) were replaced on Sunday.

In statements published in the flagship state paper Al-Ahram, Kamal said the lack of security in the country has led owners of microbuses to store diesel or to sell it on the black market following speculation about the government’s subsidies plan.

Kamal said that the General Petroleum Authority, a state-owned institution implementing policies related to petroleum activities in the country, continues to pump 35,000 tons of diesel daily, saying that this volume exceeds the needs of the market and costs the state a significant amount of hard currency.

“If we increase the supply of diesel we would be helping the mafias smuggling fuel,” he said.

He also said that talk about the inability of the EGPC to supply adequate amounts of diesel is intended to create chaos among people who then rush to store fuel or to sell it on the black market.

Kamal called on all monitoring authorities to intervene to implement the law and punish those who cause the shortage, adding that the Petroleum Ministry needs the help of a strong police apparatus.

The government said it wants to rationalize the fuel usage in the country by using smart cards to distribute to citizens in need of cheaper fuel.

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