Panic and confusion was the reaction of motorists as several filling stations in the city reported depletion of stocks, despite promises by the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority that the situation was normalising.
Some Dar es Salaam residents were forced to drive as far as Kibaha in search of the commodity in vain.
Many of the filling stations along Morogoro Road were closed, with attendants saying they had run out of stocks, with commuter buses, trucks, taxis, motorcycles and ordinary vehicles being turned away.
One of the commuter bus drivers overheard directing colleagues where to get fuel, said: “We refueled in Kongowe,” stressing that most of the filling stations had no fuel.
The survey also found filling stations at Mwenge, Ubungo, Mbezi and Kimara and other parts of the city out of fuel, while oil dealers said they did not know the source of the problem.
Mariam Kigomba an employee of Puma Energy at Mwenge said the filling station has experienced severe shortage of petroleum for three consecutive days.
Other filling stations like Oilcom along Sam Nujoma Road, Camel Oil at Afrika Sana, and TSN Bamaga have been facing shortage of the commodity for almost a week.
Abdallah Juma who a conductor in a bus operating between Mwenge and Mbezi said they were only refueling their vehicles at one filling station along the whole route.
“This is the only station where most vehicles were refueling. The rest of the stations were empty,” said Juma.
Commuter bus drivers and conductors said they suspected that oil firms were on a boycott, noting that scarcity set in soon after the announcement of the new oil prices early this month.
Commenting on the situation, Ewura's Manager for Communications and Public Relations Titus Kaguo admitted that the country was facing serious shortage of fuel in the local market.
“We had agreed with the Tanzania Revenue Authority to allow oil marketing firms to buy transit fuel to fill the gap and when the ships come, to return the stocks,” he said, adding however that implementation was delayed by the long holiday weekend.
“But I have to admit that we’re facing shortage of fuel in the local market… worse still the problem is being fueled by inadequate number of filling stations operating under big Oil Marketing companies,” he said.
He said a number of oil marketing companies were loading the fuel cargo at depots and that more filling stations will be restocked soon.
He also pointed out that when the country faced a fuel crisis, marketing firms tended to stop selling oil to other filling stations not under their supervision.
The manager advised the government through the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) to set up a national strategic reserve for fuel to end the recurring fuel crisis.
“When installed, the government can easily tap the available fuel from the strategic reserves, to cover the fuel demand as emergency,” stressed Kaguo.
Confirmed reports said top government authorities including the Ministry of Energy and Minerals Permanent Secretary, Eliakim Maswi were holding a meeting yesterday to find ways to solve the fuel crisis.
“I am in a meeting discussing the same fuel problem. Call me later in the evening--- I will be in a position to talk,” said the PS when called by this paper.
However when this paper called, the PS did not respond.