The nationwide gas and fuel crisis escalated Thursday in Cairo and other governorates as demand continued to rise due to the lack of petroleum at filling stations.
Cars queued for several kilometers outside petrol stations in some regions and bus stations were overcrowded due to both a shortage of diesel for buses and a public transportation worker strike.
Social Solidarity and Domestic Trade Minister Gouda Abdel Khaleq submitted a report Thursday to Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri on the fuel crisis, specifically the shortage of gasoline types 80, 90 and 92 in different governorates nationwide.
The report requested Ganzouri's immediate intervention to provide money to import additional fuel to meet market demands.
Fathy Abdel Aziz, head of the Control and Distribution Department of the Social Solidarity and Domestic Trade Ministry, said the ministry is “in a state of emergency” and that inspectors are working around the clock to monitor the markets and notify relevant authorities on the state of the fuel supply.
Abdel Aziz said the ministry is keen on coordinating with the supply police — officers working with the ministry tasked with monitoring the markets and rooting out smugglers and black market activities — to tighten control over the markets.
He said supply police have uncovered many instances of fuel being smuggled for sale on the black market.
Abdel Aziz said that as of Thursday, 715,994 liters of gasoline and diesel fuel had been seized before entering the black market. He added that the suspects were arrested and referred to public prosecution.
The crisis “is expected to end within days on condition that the Petroleum Ministry increases supply to meet market demands,” he said.
The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, which is affiliated with the Petroleum Ministry, plans to increase the rate of fuel being pumped into the market to 37,000 tons per day beginning on Thursday.
The government had already increased the diesel supply since the beginning of this week to 36 tons daily, authority head Hany Dahy told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Dahy alleged that the ongoing fuel shortage was created by smugglers and traders trying to make money on the black market.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm