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Reports of Fuel Shortage Stir Panic

Following the reports of fuel shortage at the Thilawa fuel storage facility, people rush into the gas stations across the country to buy fuel on April 19. In response to the unprecedented demand, some gas stations limited the volume of fuel that an individual car can buy in the morning.

In late afternoon, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy issued a statement denying reports of fuel shortage and claming to have 45 million gallons of petrol and 70 million gallons of diesel at the Thilawa fuel storage facility along with two tankers docked at the Thilawa Port.

Around the time of the ministry’s statement, some fuel companies announced that they will be selling fuel without volume limitation.

Maj-Gen Zaw Min Thu, Spokesperson of the State Administration Council (SAC) said that the country have enough fuel since it has calculated and imported required volume and that the SAC will be selling US dollors to fuel trading companies so that they can import fuel. Zaw Min Tun blamed the companies for the problems accusing they caused it because they were forced to sell the fuel at the rate calculated based on the exchange rate of MMK1850 per dollar and were unable to buy the currency they need.

The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Commerce, U Nyunt Aung said that selling fuel will become normal by tommorrow (April 20) as fuel trucks are now leaving the terminals in Thilawa. He concluded that this problem is partly because of the confusion caused by the Central Bank of Myanmar’s new foreign currency policy.

The Central Bank of Myanmar on April 3 issued a notification that all foreign earnings by locals must be converted into Myanmar Kyat at the rate of MMK 1850 per dollar whithin one working day requiring exporters to convert their earning into Myanmar Kyat.

The rate in the open market was around MMK 2050 per dollar in early April.

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