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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: The shortage of petroleum products and its impact on the daily life of the population.

The shortage of petroleum products, which began in the Central African Republic in March 2022 and which, according to the Government, should be temporary and short- lived, has worsened over the months.

Central Africans in Bangui still remember the long queues of vehicles and young people waiting for days at service stations for their supply of hydrocarbons. Alongside the service stations, the illicit sale of petroleum products by third parties has developed along the avenues and streets of the capital Bangui. As for the rest of the country, where there are practically no petrol stations, consumers are forced get their supplies in their own way from neighboring countries: Cameroon, Congo, DRC, Sudan and Chad.

Today in Bangui, curiously, almost all gas stations are at a standstill. Consumers (government and non-government) refuel from the points of sale spread throughout the avenues and streets of the capital. Naturally, the sale of flammable products in the open air and unregulated often leads to the risk of fires. Thus, in October, two cases of fires with serious consequences were recorded in Bangui.

The fight against the illicit sale of petroleum products, which was announced with great fanfare a few months ago, has ended up making the Government an accomplice in the illicit sale of adulterated products that endanger the functioning of several vehicles throughout the country.

At this stage, nothing is said and nothing is done. In the meantime, it is the populations in general, the companies and the workers in particular who are suffering the disastrous consequences of what is now called the “energy crisis”.

In such circumstances, the individuals who can provide the minimum service impose their law, known as the “law of supply and demand”. The people watch helplessly at the disorderly increase of the prices of petroleum products, basic necessities and foodstuffs.

As an example, and to speak only of the transport sector, the fees have illegally increased to: By way of example and to speak only of the transport sector, the costs are passed illegally to:

  • Urban bus: 200 FCFA per person in the best cases instead of 125 FCFA;
  • Taxis: 250 FCFA per person in the best cases instead of 150 FCFA;
  • Motorcycle taxis: let’s not talk about it because there is no single price. As for the price of fuel, it is now in the order of:
  • Petrol: 1100 FCFA per liter in the street instead of 865 FCFA at the pump;
  • Gas oil: 1400 FCFA per liter in the street instead of 855 FCFA at the pump.

For the transport of people and goods between the capital Bangui and the towns in the interior of the cities in the interior of the country, it’s at its height. Moreover, this is what justifies the soaring prices  of  foodstuffs  from  the  various  prefectures.

It is to believe that in the current situation, the powerless Government no longer controls anything. Nothing is said and nothing is done. It is a total silence and the people in its diversity suffer.

Workers can no longer afford the cost of living on their meager, unchanging wages. We look forward to the resumption of negotiations as contained in the Final Communiqué sanctioning the end of the negotiations between the negotiations between the Government and the Trade Unions in December 2021. Social peace will be the price before it is too late.

Done at Bangui,
26 October 2022

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