Somalia

Somalia: Fuel shortage hits Mogadishu

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NAIROBI, 5 February (IRIN) - A severe fuel shortage has hit the Somali capital, Mogadishu, over the past two weeks, according to a local businessman. Fuel prices have sky-rocketed, with the price of petrol doubling within a week.
The shortage was reportedly affecting not only the transport sector but many of the light industries which had proliferated in the city over the last couple of years, businessman Husayn Haji told IRIN on Wednesday.

He said the shortage was due to the fact that no cargo of petroleum had reached Mogadishu for "at least a month", and some traders were taking advantage to hike the price.

The fear of a war in Iraq was also contributing, with "rumours that once war starts, there will be no fuel coming from the Gulf countries", he said. The bulk of fuel for Somalia comes from the United Arab Emirates.

Petrol previously costing 8,000 Somali shillings (30 US cents) per litre two weeks ago was by Tuesday selling for 16,000 shillings, Husayn said.

Also contributing to the shortage was the unwillingness of some the traders to keep large reserve stocks due to fears of the fluctuations affecting the Somali currency. The exchange rate for one US dollar was 20,000 shillings on Wednesday, Husayn said.

[ENDS]

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