AP

Myanmar military government denies rumors of fuel shortages

Apr 19, 2022, 8:17 PM | Updated: 8:58 pm

Long lines of vehicles wait at a filling station Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanm...

Long lines of vehicles wait at a filling station Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's military government denied Tuesday that the country is suffering from a shortage of automotive fuel, after rumors about low supplies of gasoline and diesel led to panic buying and long queues at service stations. (AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s military government has denied the country is suffering from a shortage of fuel after rumors about low supplies of gasoline and diesel led to panic buying and long queues at service stations in several cities.

Some gasoline stations in Yangon shut down Tuesday after exhausting their supplies and several motorists said they were restricted in the amount they could purchase at the legally fixed price of 1,975 kyats ($1.07) for one liter of gasoline and 2,160 kyats ($1.17) for one liter of diesel.

The Ministry of Electricity and Energy denied there was a shortage, saying unfounded rumors and inadequate infrastructure for retail sales were to blame.

The ministry sent a statement to journalists saying that Myanmar has sufficient supplies both in storage tanks and in two unloaded vessels berthed at the main port for Yangon, the country’s biggest city.

The ministry said it was working to ease panic buying and retail sales would continue as usual.

An executive of a private fuel company based in Yangon suggested the panic buying was partly due to an April 5 notice by the central bank ordering businesses and individuals to convert dollars and other foreign currency into kyats within one day or face legal consequences. The conversions would be made the official exchange rate of 1,850 kyats per dollar, less that the prevailing black market rate of 2,030 kyats per dollar. It also said that foreign currency could only be sent overseas with government approval.

The order suggested that the authorities may be running short of hard currency needed to pay debts and purchase key supplies such as oil, gas and weapons.

Myanmar has suffered a cash crunch since the army seized power last year, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and triggering financial sanctions by Western governments. The economy, already suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, has been strained further by public resistance to the army’s takeover, which has led to what some U.N. experts have characterized as a civil war.

The fuel company executive said gasoline distribution companies were having a hard time buying from foreign companies under the new regulations, even though tankers holding the fuel they want to buy have been docked at Yangon for a week. He spoke on condition of anonymity because his remarks critical of government policy could get him into trouble.

The central bank has yet to decide on quotas for selling dollars to importers, so distributors have had to delay their purchases and fuel is not being tranferred from ships to replenish storage tanks because payments haven’t been made, he said.

“The main problem is that it doesn’t have a stable and specific policy for the payment system for our importers to purchase imported fuel. The central bank has not yet come up with a clear policy on how to sell dollars to us,” he said.

The spokesperson for Myanmar’s ruling military council, Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, told MRTV state television that some companies were spreading rumors about a fuel shortage because they did not want to trade at the dollar rate fixed by the central bank.

Zaw Min Tun accused Myanmar media outlets operating in exile, who generally oppose the military government, of causing problems. Dollars will be sold starting Wednesday to those qualified to purchase them, he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

15 hours ago

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

3 days ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

3 days ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

4 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

4 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Myanmar military government denies rumors of fuel shortages