Opposition MMD has asked the ruling Patriotic Front to immediately sort out the fuel shortage in Luapula Province to enable productivity in the area.
But Luapula province permanent secretary Chanda Kasolo told the Daily Nation from Mwansabombwe that there was no shortage of fuel but a shortage of filling stations in the province.
MMD president Nevers Mumba has said the fuel crisis that had been hitting the province since 2012 needed to be sorted out like yesterday.
Dr Mumba spent close to an hour waiting in a queue at Amico filling Station in Mansa, the only filing station which had stock on Friday.
He said the fuel shortage was affecting productivity as people were spending more time in queues rather than working.
Dr Mumba noted that it was hypocritical of the PF Government officials to continue subjecting people to long queues in search of fuel when they were the first people to line up with containers at filling stations whenever there was a shortage of the commodity when they were in opposition.
But Luapula province permanent secretary Chanda Kasolo told the Daily Nation from Mwansabombwe that there was no shortage of fuel in Luapula but a shortage of filling stations in the province.
Mr Kasolo said there were four filling station in Mansa of which only two were operational and that government was working on ways to improve the situation by encouraging the setting up of new filling stations.
He said by the end of this month, a new filling station would be opened in Musaila in Samfya district which would be sponsored by the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ).
Dr Kasolo said this would ease the situation of motorists that were using the Tuta road from Serenje.
“I would say yes and no. No in the sense that we have fuel in the province and yes in that we only have two filling stations. Dr Mumba is misunderstanding the situation because it is only two stations providing fuel.
“However, as government we are trying everything possible to control the situation. Right now, we are supporting the application by people to construct filling stations and we hope to have another one in Chembe,” he said.
Mr Kasolo explained that the other two filling stations were not operating because they were undergoing change of ownership.
He said the situation would normalize once all the processes were completed and people would no longer spend hours queuing for the commodity.
Dr Mumba however said it was unacceptable for people to be spending hours at filling stations as if they did not have other business to do.
“If you spend so much time waiting in a queue, what time are you going to have to look for money if you are a taxi driver? This crisis has gone on long enough and government should come in and find a lasting solution to the problem,” he said.