Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma has attributed the shortage of fuel mostly in Lusaka to panic buying by motorists.
The Minister has told Parliament in a ministerial statement today that the panicking buying has resulted in an increase in the daily uplift of fuel from Lusaka fuel Depot from 300,000 litres to 600,000 litres of petrol per day.
He says this is despite the country having enough fuel stocks at the Ndola terminal and the Lusaka depot.
Mr Yaluma says he held a fruitful meeting with Oil Marketing Companies today during which it was resolved that they increase the uplift of fuel stocks from the Lusaka depot with the aim of flooding the market to end the shortage.
He says it is anticipated that before the end of this weeks the perceived shortage of fuel week come to an end.
Mr Yaluma says there is no reason for the continued shortage of fuel especially in Lusaka when 590,000 litres of petrol which is about double the daily requirement was uplifted by Oil Marketing Companies from the Lusaka depot on 9th March to feed the southern circuit.
He adds that as of 17:00 hours yesterday the Lusaka Depot had received fifteen trucks which translates in about 525,000 litres of petrol for Lusaka alone for sale to Oil Marketing Companies.
Mr Yaluma furthers states that as at 06:00 hours this morning the opening balance of petrol was at 2,583,000 litres for uplifting by Oil Marketing Companies and that 48 trucks carrying about 1.68 million litres of petrol were awaiting to offload.
And Mr Yaluma says government has directed the Energy Regulation Board to bring to book those who maybe unnecessarily hoarding fuel thereby creating an artificial shortage.
He adds that Oil Marketing Companies that might be hoarding fuel in anticipation of an increase in fuel prices will sale it at an even cheaper price in the near future because government has no intentions of increasing the fuel pump price.