Imopetro, the Mozambican company which manages fuel imports, says the supply of petrol is being normalized in the central and northern provinces of the country.

The statement, issued on Monday afternoon, was the first time Imopetro had said anything at all about the deepening fuel crisis in several Mozambican cities.

Over the weekend, Chimoio, capital of the central province of Manica, had almost run out of fuel. Reporters from the independent television station STV found only one filling station in the entire city with any petrol left.

Belatedly, the Manica provincial directorate of mineral resources and energy banned the sale of petrol in plastic containers since the fuel was being resold to motorists at speculative prices.

In Nampula, the largest city in northern Mozambique, the situation was even worse. STV reported on Monday that the city had been without petrol for four days.

Imopetro’s reluctant media statement declared that the restrictions on petrol supplies “were due to logistical problems, as the authorities have already told the media”.

These unspecified “logistical problems” resulted in a delay in the tanker “Pacific Beryl” unloading fuel at Mozambican ports.

The media statement claimed that petrol supplies in the central provinces were returning to normal, since the ship had unloaded petrol in the port of Beira on Saturday.

As for northern Mozambique, Imopetro insisted that all would be back to normal from Tuesday, since the Pacific Beryl was due to unload petrol in the port of Nacala from Monday. Imopetro, the statement added, “is making efforts to supply the entire country with fuel”.