Botswana is experiencing shortages of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Addressing the media on Thursday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology & Energy Security, Mr Mmetla Masire attributed the shortage to COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa.
The lockdown commenced at the beginning of the winter season where some refineries were shutdown thereby affecting Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) supply in the country.
Botswana does not have storage facilities for LPG and relies on privately-owned retail facilities, as LPG entering the country is not stored but for retail.
He also assured Batswana that his ministry through Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) was monitoring the situation closely with LPG companies.
“In this regard, LPG companies are required to report their tank volumes daily and also indicate how many tankers are expected and their expected time of arrival.
Some LPG companies have indicated that there is plenty of the product but transport is not enough. The reports will surely inform the country at large of where this commodity can be sourced locally,” he said.
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Mr Masire emphasised that since LPG pricing was currently not regulated, it usually followed that an increase in demand verses supply lead to price increases.
However, he pleaded with LPG companies to be mindful when setting prices to give Batswana the commodity at affordable rates.
Meanwhile he said that the fuel supply situation across the country was improving. He commended Batswana for complying with regulations put in place to stabilise the fuel supply situation, saying their cooperation demonstrated Botho during these difficult times.
He said the ministry would continue to monitor the situation. He illustrated that government introduced Essential Supplies and Services (petroleum) Regulations, 2020, through which selling of fuel was capped at P250 per vehicle at a time.
Mr Masire added that filling stations were to operate between 6am and 8pm and buying of petrol was limited to a maximum of 20 litres per person per day. Mr Masire assured Batswana that the fuel refineries in South Africa were back to a normal state hence the gradual development in the fuel supply.
Mr Masire highlighted that government intended to strengthen relations with Namibia and Mozambique supply markets in order to have a shared 30 per cent of fuel being equally distributed from the points, to avoid heavy reliance on South Africa. However, he said, the transition was a complex one, given the economic issues associated with it.
Source: Daily News Botswana