Official: Fuel crisis expected to continue until mid-May

The petroleum products shortage is expected to continue until 15 May, said an official at the Social Solidarity and Domestic Trade Ministry on Monday.

Hesham Saadallah, the head of the ministry’s crisis prediction unit, said the reason behind the continuation of the crisis is the fact that Egypt has begun the wheat and rice harvest season during which large quantities of diesel fuel, estimated at 272.1 million liters, are needed to run the machines used to harvest 4.57 million acres of wheat and 1.9 million acres of rice.

Saadallah told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Monday that his ministry and the Petroleum Ministry were responsible for the current fuel crisis in Egypt as they had not prepared themselves for the crisis.

He said the government was facing the crisis in a completely random manner and that it does not prepare itself for such crises despite the fact that the ministry’s crisis prediction unit warned the minister and provided him with all of the necessary solutions to keep the situation at bay.

Meanwhile, gas and diesel fuel shortages continued on Monday in Cairo and all governorates, while a number of fuel supply depots demanded protection from the police and military forces.

Fathi Abdel Aziz, head of the control and distribution unit at the Social Solidarity and Domestic Trade Ministry, said that the fuel shortage crisis “was improving as additional quantities of gasoline and diesel fuel had been supplied to the market after new shipments reached the country through the Suez and Alexandria Ports.”

A report released by the ministry on Monday that was submitted to Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri concerning the current crisis revealed a shortage in the amounts of fuel being supplied in most governorates.

According to the report, the quantities “continue to be lacking” and “35 gas stations in Cairo have no gasoline or diesel fuel.”

The report went on to say that a number of governorates, including Ismailia, requested police and military protection against armed robbery of gas stations.

Translated from Al-Masry al-Youm

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