Kenya's energy minister said Thursday that his country would cut import quotas for oil companies who fail to sell their full allocation as it grapples with a fuel shortage.
The fuel problem in Kenya is on its second week, and traffic in the capital Nairobi has come to an end as desperate motorists have joined snaking queues outside petrol stations, blocking major roads.
Oil companies are being accused of hoarding supplies ahead of a price rise, which comes into force on Friday. Oil companies have pointed to subsidy arrearsowed to them by the state.
According to local media, the government had deported Rubis Energy Kenya's CEO, according to the fuel crisis. Minister of Energy Monica Juma confirmed that Jean-Christian Bergeron, CEO, had left the country on Wednesday night, but declined to disclose any information.
Bergeron has led Rubis Energie's Kenyan subsidiary for three years. Local media claimed his work visa had been revoked. Bergeron and the interior ministry did not respond to requests for clarification.
"In a statement in French, Rubis Energie's CEO admitted that he did not give further details about Bergeron's return to France.
Kenya's petroleum regulator said on Thursday that national gasoline prices increased by 9.90 Kenyan shillings per litre, effective from Friday.
Juma said she had approved a reform of the petroleum import capacity and the fuel crisis should ease within 72 hours. "This situation can only be equated to deliberate efforts to destroy this economy, which is a capital crime," she said.
"The oil marketing firms who sold above their normal local quota during the crisis period will benefit from additional capacity, while those who sold less will have their respective capacities reduced," Juma said, without giving any details about quota changes.
Rubis Energy Kenya stated in a statement that it has not increased its export sales to the harm of the Kenyan market and that it is taking every effort to fully supply the market.
Kenya's fuel subsidy program was introduced in 2021. However, global oil prices have caused cash flow difficulties at some retailers, and difficulties have caused by government subsidy payments.
Many Kenyans reached out to social media to see where to find fuel, but one even started a crowd-sourced website "IkoWhere?", which offered live updates on fuel stations.
($1 = 115.4000 Kenyan shillings)