17 Jun 2019

 

NBGS: Fuel Prices Spiral; Sellers Accused Of Stockpiling Reserves

local petrol and diesel sellers operating in the black market complain of being forced to relocate their businesses strategically located along the roads. They expressed their unhappiness with what they termed as ‘forceful dislocation [sic] from their strategic places’ of business.

NBGS: Fuel Prices Spiral; Sellers Accused Of Stockpiling Reserves
FOPS in Aweil . [Gurtong]

By Abraham Agoth

AWEIL, 26 July 2014- Following the issue of a local order last week asking them to move to Malou-aweer, Ayuang and Sika-hadid markets, prices of petrol increased, from 9 SPP to 12 SSP per litter, while diesel increased from 8 SSP to 10 SSP per litre. The local order was introduced as part of the state’s measures to control damage caused by these combustible liquids.

Riak Yai, one of the fuel hawkers in Aweil black market explained why the sellers decided to store their petrol and diesel reserves and sell it at slightly higher prices:

“Reason why we increased the petrol prices is because we transport it at the border [Majok] at an expensive price e.g one jerrycan costs us 120 SSP, then we transport it here, when considering these, then we get profit of 15-25 SSP. When we get at 105 SSP then automatically we sell at 115 SSP here. We have slightly increased, like 500 ml costs 6 SSP while 1000 ml [1litre] costs 12 SSP. If the prices at the border reduce, this is where we can reduce our local prices here.” He noted.

Meanwhile, the municipality argued that this was not the reason for the increased prices of petrol and diesel but rather they suspect vendors of having hidden their reserves of fuel to confuse the public or oppose the idea of relocation. Northern Bahr el Ghazal town mayor, Hon. Atak Longar, expressed his dissatisfaction with the increase in prices, calling it ‘illegal’. He vowed to investigate the causes and bring the ringleaders into uniformity.

“That is the local order we issued but the crisis on increase of prices now, we don’t know what happened … it needs to be investigated whether the price was increased from the North [Sudan] or it is the matter of issuing the local order to close those using the petrol around the market is the cause which raised the prices … we wanted to rescue because may be this petrol will cause fire anytime.” He explained.

Wondering why these fuel hawkers closed and hid their stocks of businesses instead of dislocation. He further said he is preparing to send a team into the market and to the border, to investigate and scrutinize the prices. He warned traders to follow the instructions given for relocation of their businesses.

“We want to investigate: why they closed down and they hid all their petrol and diesel and increased the prices? That one will be the different agenda because we don’t understand what is the increase of the petrol? I want to advise the traders who are using diesel and petrol as their businesses to open their shops in the places which we are talking about”, he said.

Majok Akol Akol, an executive Director at the State Revenue Authority [SRA], said the changes were caused by poor road conditions affecting the importation of goods. He said the traders may be considering the losses incurred during the wet season, or low supplies connected to the season.

“There is nothing actually we can do right now to bring down the prices since the traders, who are bringing goods, bring them at high cost. More especially petrol and diesel we receive here in Aweil is brought on motorbikes, so actually it becomes difficult to bring down the prices unless there should be improvement on the roads because at times, you know the motorbikes can spend 2-3 days on the roads. There must be lots of losses to the concerned trader, therefore it will actually be difficult for us to control at this moment.” He explained.

He says the slight increment of prices is not to be blamed on government or traders, but is due to the poor roads in the bordering states and within NBGS. Joseph Anguei, a motorist, expressed the negative impact which crises of fuel bring, saying it will destabilize the movement and coordination being organized by motorbikes and vehicles.

“The negative impact for the increment of the fuel can make you not to access some distances where you want to go; maybe you want to go to the county, you cannot go there due the crisis of the fuel. If you cannot afford as a citizen to buy fuel you cannot go wherever you want to go to, so it affects lots of people.” He complained.

“We have scarcity of fuel, especially petrol, in the state because of low supply caused by high exchange of hard currency. Another issue is the poor roads within the country. It sometimes takes us a week to two weeks to transport goods from Juba to Aweil, discouraging trade which at times leads to losses.” He said.

It remains unclear whether the prices will drop or increase as the signs of low supply continue. It is thought that, as the rains worsen the conditions for movement on the roads. Some traders may keep their small stock reserves, hiding their leftovers and later selling them when prices double.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal state depends on imported goods, especially from the bordering state of Sudan, which becomes difficult during wet seasons as most of the roads become impassable. Taxes incurred by traders from both Sudanese states affect the volume of goods supplied.

 

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