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Port officials and oil dealers accused of manipulating demurrage charges

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The government paid Kshs. 1.3 billion in demurrage fees to oil companies within six months to June this year according to the Finance and National Planning Committee of the National Assembly.

The committee is accusing officials at the Ministry of Petroleum of colluding with oil dealers and port officials to keep ships waiting in the high seas thereby attracting huge penalties which are then shared among corrupt state officials.

Importers have been decrying the high demurrage costs at the Port of Mombasa which is charged on a daily basis at a cost of 150 dollars (Kshs. 16,500) per container.

Despite the expansion of port infrastructure in the last ten years, shippers continue to face delays in offloading their cargo due to inefficiencies at the Port of Mombasa.

The petroleum ministry is on the spot for inefficiencies at the oil jetties leading to high demurrage charges that are passed on to the consumers increasing the cost of pump prices

The Departmental Committee on Finance and National planning through its Chair Gladys Wanga said private entities may be taking advantage of a lack of stringent stipulations on tendering contracts to intentionally delay oil evacuation and claim high fees when their ships overstay at Kenyan ports leading to higher fuel costs

The committee says between January to June 2021, the government was surcharged Kshs. 1.3 billion by oil importers for delays at the port of Mombasa

The committee is probing the surge in fuel prices in Kenya that has caused serious public uproar after petrol prices were adjusted by 7 shillings in the last review on the 14th of September this year.

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