As the fuel shortage continues to bite in Juba, a central government initiative to deny black marketers access to fuel by deploying national security agents to petrol stations backfires as agents become involved in trading.
Fuel scarcity, coupled with a high profit margin, has made the black market in fuel a lucrative business in Juba. Attempts to control the market by the central government have been ineffective. A controversial initiative, involving deploying National Security Agents to petrol stations, has been frustrated by poor discipline and corruption within the service itself.
National Security agents assigned to petrol stations are alleged to be extorting money from black market dealers instead of preventing them from accessing fuel.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, a dealer complained that he was forced to pay agents at the Tiba Petrol Station along Juba-Yei road before he could acquire 40 litres of fuel.
The dealer expressed disappointment at the 30% cut that security agents were demanding, claiming that he would need to pass on those costs to consumers.
Although fuel can cost up to three times as much on the black market as it would at the petrol pump, accessing the fuel is difficult. Long queues are common place with no guarantee of getting fuel after a day’s waiting. This has forced locals to turn to black market traders.