Western Kenya bears brunt of expensive fuel as traders hoard commodity
Noel Wandera @NoelWandera5
Fuel consumers in the Western region might be paying higher prices than those recommended by the government, with concern that oil majors are scaling back selling the products to independent retailers.
Independent retailers are dotted across many towns and villages, areas not accessed by the mainstream oil marketers, where they sell the commodities to thousands.
In an advertisement yesterday, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) said they are aware some Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in the western part of the country are hoarding fuel and causing artificial shortages, despite the fact that the country has enough of the product in stock.
Consequently, Epra has warned that the OMCs caught engaging in this unfair trade practice risk their licences being revoked, fined or will be convicted if found guilty.
“Accordingly, OMCs and station dealers are hereby warned that companies or individuals found to deliberately hold back sales of petroleum products will be deemed to have hoarded, and shall be liable to a fine of not less than Sh1 million, or a term of imprisonment of not less than two years or both,” said Epra director-general Robert Oimeke, adding the OMCs risk losing their trade licenses.
Oimeke said preliminary investigations had unearthed an unholy scheme where OMCs are deliberately hoarding sales of the product to non-franchised petroleum retailers otherwise known as independents in anticipation for a price increase.