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Energy minister tasked to explain alarming increase in fuel prices

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has asked the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development to present a statement on Wednesday next week regarding the rising fuel prices.

The pump price for petrol has in the last few weeks been increasing and is currently above Shillings 4,200 with some gas stations in the city center sharing prices between 4400-4600 shillings.

Robert Ndugwa Migadde, the Buvuma MP raised the issue as a matter of national importance during the Thursday parliamentary sitting.

He said that by 17th June 2021, the price of petrol was Shillings 3,900, while diesel was 3,500 and currently, the price of petrol is Shillings 4,600 and 6,000 in Buvuma Islands, while diesel is at Shillings 4,200.

Migadde said that fuel is a major driver in the economy and that this has led to increase in the different commodity prices and other necessities. He questioned how much fuel Uganda has in the fuel reserves and how long the reserve can push the country.

In response, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja noted the challenges the rising fuel prices have caused, saying that it is a global problem. She then directed the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa to present a comprehensive statement to parliament on the matter.

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Deputy Speaker Among demanded that the statement is presented before Parliament on Wednesday next week.

Early this month, the minister said that government cannot regulate the fuel pump price because the market was liberalized a long time ago.

The increase in prices of diesel and petrol in Uganda is attributed to the global rise in crude oil. The global oil prices had climbed above US Dollars 80 a barrel by late September. Some analysts believe that oil prices will continue to rise amid surging demand and tight supplies.

The commissioner in charge of petroleum supply and distribution, Rev Frank Justave Tukwasibwe was quoted saying that the rise in fuel prices is not unique to Uganda.

“It is global, not that it is unique to Uganda,” he explained, “but it has affected us so badly compared to others. That is why we are saying that our regulation is to ensure adequate supply in a free and competitive environment.”

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According to Tukwasibwe, if other factors were constant, the fuel in Uganda would not be costly. He revealed that Uganda spends about US Dollars 100 to transport 1,000 litres of fuel from the Port of Mombasa and US Dollars 120 per 1,000 litres through Dar-es-salaam.

“For a Ugandan citizen to appreciate the price in Uganda, if all other factors were constant, to transport from the coast at Mombasa to Uganda, you add Shillings 355 per liter,” he said. “To transport from Dar-es-salaam which is a little bit longer, you add Shillings 430.”

According to Tukwasibwe, Ugandans should remain confident that the government will ensure that stocks don’t run out to lead to a crisis. He said all the government can do is to fight the smuggling of fuel from other countries and to fight adulteration of the fuel because of the high demand for petrol and diesel.


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