For the past two weeks, residents of Bangui have been enduring an enduring fuel crisis. Total fuel stations in the city have ceased operations due to unpaid customs duties, resulting in a scarcity of petroleum products in the capital. This has led to increased public transportation costs and has also had a profound impact on socio-economic activities.
Long queues and rising frustration have become a daily occurrence for consumers at fuel stations across the Central African capital. Gomez, who has been waiting for four days, has yet to secure a single liter of gasoline. He laments, “To get fuel, you have to arrive at around 3 a.m. or midnight… and even then, you have to negotiate with the pump attendants.”
The crisis has become a financial setback for Medard, a local entrepreneur who operates a cassava mill. “In my sector, I used to purchase a liter for 1,500 Central African francs from retailers, but now it costs 1,600 Central African francs [approximately 2.44 euros]. Despite the increased cost, the quality is not suitable for our machinery, and our operations have slowed down significantly,” he states.
Francis, on the other hand, has resorted to walking for his errands because the increased prices of public transportation have made it less affordable. “It has a significant impact on the population. Taxi fares have risen, and so have the prices for motorcycle taxis… so, we are walking now,” he reveals.
For the past two weeks, Total service stations have remained closed due to unpaid oil taxation fees amounting to more than 2 billion Central African francs (approximately 3 million euros). While stations such as Tradex and Green Oil are operational intermittently, they are unable to meet the overall demand for petroleum products.