Angola Vows to End Fuel Shortage Sparked by Currency Crunch

(Bloomberg) -- Angola is taking measures to end a fuel shortage at gas stations across the country that left hundreds of motorists stranded and risked paralyzing some sectors of the economy.

President Joao Lourenco met with officials from the oil industry on Tuesday to discuss the matter, his office said in an emailed statement. State-owned oil company Sonangol, which is responsible for importing refined products, acknowledged in a statement on May 4 that a lack of dollars to import fuel was the main reason for the crunch.

Angola, Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, imports almost all of its gasoline. The nation’s sole refinery in the capital, Luanda, only produces enough fuel to meet 20 percent of demand.

“There was a lack of dialog and communication between Sonangol and the different state institutions, which contributed negatively in the process of importing fuel,” the presidency said in the statement. “All the measures have been taken and resources that are needed were mobilized to ensure a complete stabilization of fuel supplies in the market in coming days.”

Running on Empty

On Monday, some gas stations in the capital, Luanda, ran out of fuel. Motorists resorting to illegal street vendors were being charged as much as double the official price of 160 kwanzas (50 U.S. cents) a liter, according to Paulino Londa, a professional driver in the city.

Read more about Angola’s currency problems

“The Angolan economy is paralyzed due to a lack of fuel, since all sectors depend on fuels for power generation through alternative sources,” Antonio Estote, an independent economist and professor at the Universidade Lusiada de Angola, said in a text message before the presidential statement on Tuesday. “Unquestionably, there is a reduction in productivity due to the increase in labor abstinence and equipment shutdown.”

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