With queues of fuel-hungry motorists lining up at petrol stations across the country, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sherif Hadarra called on Egyptians not to “listen to rumours about fuel shortages” despite remarks by government officials acknowledging the shortage.
“What has been said about the shortage oil, diesel and other mineral materials is not true,” said Hadarra, according to state-run news agency MENA.
Scenes of lines of vehicles at petrol stations have become commonplace, disrupting traffic and underscoring the scarcity of fuel.
Earlier this week, the head of the Egyptian Gas and Petroleum Company Tarek El-Barkatawy said in a press conference that the country is “suffering from a total shortage of petroleum materials in the market, with the rate of consumption exceeding normal levels by around 10-20%.”
Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has attributed the problem to smuggling and announced that the government has found 8% of petrol stations “are imaginary and do not even exist.”
The statements are similar to those made by Hadarra’s predecessor, Osama Kamal. When drivers complained of fuel shortages, Kamal would also deny it, blaming improper delivery and distribution procedures.