July 9, 2020 / 6:52 PM / a month ago

Botswana to ration fuel amid shortage

GABORONE, July 9 (Reuters) - Botswana will ration fuel from Thursday, President Mokgweetsi Masisi announced, in a bid to ease a crippling shortage that has seen some consumers rush to stock up.

Long queues formed in recent weeks at fuel stations in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, as some ran dry. The shortages have disrupted businesses and threaten to exacerbate the woes of an economy already expected to shrink 13% this year.

Mokgweetsi said in a televised address that sales will be limited to the value of 250 pula ($21.40) worth of fuel, though the limit would not apply to front-line workers and public transport operators.

“We have also started to import fuel through Namibia and Mozambique to complement supplies from South Africa, where there are disruptions in the transportation industry,” he said, adding the government did not want strategic reserves to fall to below five days’ supply, from eight days’ currently.

The southern African country, which consumes about 3.3 million litres a day, normally keeps reserves at 12 days’ supply.

It has lifted a lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus but its borders remain closed, with only essential imports allowed and truckers tested for the virus and quarantined before they enter. ($1 = 11.6822 pulas) (Reporting by Brian Benza; Editing by Emma Rumney and Toby Chopra)

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