Fuel shortage adds to Burundi’s woes

Tuesday May 2 2017

As Burundi marks two years of political crisis,

As Burundi marks two years of political crisis, the economy has been wobbling and now a two-week fuel shortage is threatening to worsen the situation. PHOTO | FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MOSES HAVYARIMANA

As Burundi marks two years of political crisis, the economy has been wobbling and now a two-week fuel shortage is threatening to worsen the situation. 

Daniel Mpitabakana, director in charge of petroleum in Burundi’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, attributed the crisis to “a technical problem at the Burundi Revenue Authority.”

Another source said that fuel importers have run short of foreign currency to buy fuel, hence the shortage.

Burundi’s economy has taken a beating since President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a controversial third term in 2015. The European Union and the US suspended direct aid to Bujumbura, which accounts for almost half of the country’s annual budget.

According to the World Bank figures, inflation for the first quarter of this year is at a 8.7 per cent ceiling, compared to 5.5 per cent in 2016. Economists forecast it to soar to double digits this year.

The GDP contracted by 0.6 per cent in 2016, an improvement from the 3.9 per cent contraction in 2015. The GDP was last recorded in 2015 at $3.097 billion with recorded growth of -0.6 per cent in 2016. The 2017 forecast is not more than 1.5 per cent.

Advertisement

According to the World Bank poverty is expected to rise by 83 per cent in 2018-19. As 90 per cent of the population heavily relies on agriculture, the prolonged dry spell has negatively impacted the production of food.

Burundi has, since last year, ceased to export food to neighbouring countries, specifically to Rwanda, citing growing food insecurity in the country.

The World Food Programme reported that at least 3 million Burundians are in urgent need of food relief.

Advertisement