Fuel shortages and panic buying plague Tunisia


Fuel shortages have caused long lines at petrol stations in Tunisia, with officials accusing the public of panic buying and contributing to the shortage, according to The National. Tunisia has been facing recurring issues with fuel supply and distribution, stemming from a crisis in public finances. 

The question of why the fuel crisis is occurring is one that doesn’t seem to have one agreed upon answer. Salwan Smiri, Secretary General of the Tunisian General Labour Union’s Oil and Chemicals Federation, attributed the shortage to logistical problems in transporting petrol from the commercial port of Bizerte. Others cite that the strikes in the oil sector have been affecting on the production and distribution of oil.

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Despite reassurances from officials, the disruption in oil supply continues, with some fuel distribution stations running empty. A service station clerk in lac district told The National, “We don’t have gasoline any more, we’ve simply ran out.” The clerk also mentioned that he noticed the usual supply of petrol they received to have decreased over the past week. 

According to a report from the Ministry of Industry National Observatory of Energy and Mines, national crude oil production in Tunisia was down by 18% in March, compared to the same period in 2022. 

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Tunisia finds itself dealing with not just a fuel crisis, but also the additional challenge of a disrupted bread supply, aggravated by droughts that have affected wheat crops. These dual crises are set to further compound the economic difficulties faced by the country, which is already grappling with an ongoing economic crisis. As part of their efforts to address the situation, the Tunisian government recently secured a $500 million loan from the African Export-Import Bank, according to Maghrebi. 

The National/Maghrebi


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