Dealers warned against hoarding fuel in anticipation of new prices
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has warned fuel dealers who are hoarding petroleum products in anticipation of an increase in prices in a few days.
In a statement to media houses on Monday, the regulatory body noted that there are reports of an artificial shortage of petroleum products in the country despite the country being sufficiently stocked
“A number of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are deliberately holding back sales to non-franchised petroleum retailers otherwise known as independents, in anticipation of a price increase,” the statement stated.
According to the Authority, the OMCs and petroleum retail station dealers were warned that companies or individuals found to be deliberately holding back sales of petroleum products will be deemed to have hoarded, and shall on conviction be liable to a fine of not less than Sh1 million, or a term of imprisonment of not less than one year, or both.
The authority added that it would also permanently revoke licences for companies or individuals found in breach of the provisions.
The practice is tantamount to hoarding and is an offense under Section 99(1) (k) of the Petroleum Act No.2 of 2019 that recommends penalties for a hoarder who is the owner or operator of a bulk storage, facility for petroleum products, service station or storage depot, or being the owner of any petroleum stocks.
Last month, EPRA, through the Ministry of Energy, rejected a petition by oil marketers for the exclusion of cheaper fuel during the monthly review in a push that was aimed at denying motorists the benefits of low crude prices.
Marketers were pushing the energy regulator to base its Thursday review of retail fuel prices on the March crude cost of $35.58 a barrel and not the April average of $26.63, arguing that they were unable to sell 40 per cent of the expensive fuel due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Fuel prices have since the Covid-19 pandemic fell as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut its production.