Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise (EPSE), one of the 27 public enterprises under the Ethiopian Investment Holding, plans to revise its plan to build governmental gas stations under the management of EIH.
“The investment holding was established to administer the national wealth in an organized way, in order to help support government development agencies to strength their weakness in financing development projects; in addition to creating wealth for the current and future generation of Ethiopia,” Tadesse Hailemariam, Chief Executive Officer of EPSE told Capital.
“Having governmental gas stations will stabilize the market as it creates competition between the government and the private sector, especially at a time where man made shortages have bewildered the market,” Tadesse explained, while underlining the merits of the governmental gas stations.
In 2015, the Ethiopian government had shown an interest in joining the fuel distribution markets in the country and had identified 60 of the 130 locations in which it planned to establish the gas stations across the country. However, as Tadesse elaborates it was the hiatus of the Addis Ababa city administration which refused to give land for the construction.
“Being under the EIH umbrella will help us to solve certain challenges, such as the shortage of depots, which we face. We have been planning to build a depot at Dukem at a cost of 150 million dollars. However, it was difficult to get financing and EIH will be instrumental in achieving this,” said Tadesse.
As the CEO said, the enterprise has plans to build a depot at Dire-Dawa and Woldiya, as well.
In the past few days severe fuel shortage has pricked the country, including that of the Capital, Addis Ababa. Furthermore the government on Tuesday announced a 38 percent increase in the price of diesel as it plans to stop subsidizing fuel. Removing subsidies will be applied with different mechanisms where it will be removed within one to five years based on assessments.
“The government is importing fuel properly with no stated decrease on the amount, however, the main problem comes after it is shipped from Djibouti with trucks, which results it not to arrive to its allocated destination,” said Tadesse indicating that it is a manmade problem created by few unlawful traders who have created the situation by hording fuel in anticipation of higher prices. “The public has to know the truth that the government is providing enough supply,” he underlined.
“Hundreds of trucks carrying petroleum have been found in different parts of the country and some have been going to Sudan and Tigray whilst some are hording petroleum until the price adjustments are made. Until the end of this week, more than 20 gas carrying cars have been seized by the government,” said Kumneger Ewnetu, Public Relation Director at the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration.
“After the price adjustment, beneficiary vehicles which are to be found in the involvement of using this opportunity for illegal sell of gas, will face the full penalty of the law, which can stretch from 6 months to 7 years,” Kumneger stressed.
With regards to pointing out the thorn in this space, oil company executives, transport companies, and gas stations are said to be part of the problem as opposed to the solution.