GOVERNMENT DOWNPLAYS SERIOUS FUEL SHORTAGES

SWAZILAND: FUEL/TIMES OF SWAZILAND/19/7/18 SABANews 1

Mbabane City (pic. Agencies)

MANZINI – The government of SWAZILAND has pacified alarmistic reports of a serious shortage of fuel in almost all its administrative structures.

The TIMES OF SWAZILAND says Public Works and Transport Permanent Secretary MAKHOSINI MNDAWE has told the media it is common for petrol and diesel to be in short supply from time to time.

He says the government supplier delivers fuel at national depots in a rotational manner, and stations complaining of being dry may be crying for a commodity that is on its way.

Nevertheless, the TIMES says EMASWATI should get ready for an absence of public service delivery because the authorities seem to be facing their worst fiscal challenges.

It quotes unnamed sources well placed within the administration as alleging the government is fast running out of fuel due to debts it has not settled with certain dealers.

They claim the national fuel tanks at the Central Transport Administration are running dry, and the situation has forced some ministries to ground a number of vehicles.

If the situation continues, they say it is most certain all government cars will soon go aground, affecting essential services like the police, health, Fire and Emergency, and others.

The TIMES quotes the same insiders as saying the shortage of fuel has been due to national cash flow challenges affecting the country since the economic meltdown started years ago.

Essential service officials who have also withheld their names agree there is a crisis, which may cause difficulties in public services.

The TIMES quotes some of them as saying they at times have to drive from the Central Transport Administration in the capital, MBABANE, to MATSAPA Town.

However, the more than 32 kilometres journey does not guarantee joy, as MATSAPA Depot can declare empty tanks; and if not, chances are one may get far much less than a tank.

The sources claim government vehicles take turns to refuel, like the Royal ESWATINI Police Service – which refuels on FRIDAYS, while other departments need a memorandum to fill up.

The TIMES further quotes more unnamed sources within the force as admitting the shortages have reached near-crisis levels, because their station depots have also run dry.

They say fuel tanks within the police stations fill up only on specific days, meaning a car cannot just refuel at anywhere else except at its authorised place and on the designated days.

The government of SWAZILAND has not issued any further responses to the question of the alleged serious fuel shortages reportedly threatening a stoppage in public service provision./Sabanews/cam

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