Bujumbura – The fuel crisis in Burundi is deepening daily, with many fuel stations having not had fuel for several weeks now. The few stations that still have fuel face long lines of vehicles, while ticket prices for public transport to the countryside have doubled due to the fuel shortages.
Anatolie Kabura, 59, had to travel back to her region in Muramvya (central Burundi) from the capital Bujumbura, and said: "The travel ticket unexpectedly went from two dollars to five.
"I don't have such amount of money. I don't even have any friend to whom I could go to sleep in Bujumbura," added the mother of six. The prices of food commodities have also increased.
"A small basket of tomatoes rose from 40 dollars to 70. Vehicles carrying the good rarely come because they do not have fuel," said a vegetable seller in the capital. Vehicles owners told the African News Agency (ANA) that they had no choice other than upping the prices.
Emmanuel Nyandwi does the Bujumbura-Gitega in central Burundi trip. "I used to do two round trips a day," he pointed out, before adding, "but now I work only three times a week, spending the four remaining days to queue in front of stations."
The owners of oil companies and the Burundian government see the origin of the crisis differently. Oil companies accuse the government of monopolising the import of fuel to a single company.
"One company is not able to satisfy all the national demand," said one oil company owner anonymously. However, the Minister of Energy, Come Manirakiza, traced the problem to a lack of foreign currency.
"You know the import of fuel is carried out in US Dollars. But now, there is not enough currency to do it better," he told reporters. Businesses in Burundi are facing a shortage of foreign exchange following the suspension of financial aid from the European Union (EU).
The sanctions came following the deepening political crisis in the Great lakes country in 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza opted to run for a third term in office.