Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa Gives New Directives Over Escalating Fuel Prices

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By Uganda Online Media

Kampala; Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has directed the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to hold meetings with all stakeholders in the petroleum sector in a bid to resolve the current fuel crisis.

This followed the rejection of a statement by the State Minister of Energy and Mineral Development on the crisis.

In his statement on petroleum supply in the country presented during the plenary on Tuesday, 12 July 2022, Hon. Peter Lokeris said that while prices of all petroleum products are currently high, the focus remains on sustaining supply to allow the market to continue to determine pump prices.

“The ministry commits to engage the Government of Kenya to keep the supply route active and to encourage the Ugandan Oil Market Companies to further increase their usage of the Tanzania route so as to reduce risks associated with supply disruptions,” he said.

The minister said that the construction of 72 million litre capacity has been completed adding that the assembling of the first barge with a capacity of 4.5 million litres has also been completed and is ready to transport the fuel.

“Other than tarmacking of the 4Km Kawuku (off Kampala-Entebbe road)-Bweranga road to the storage facilities, the key challenge to operationalise this project is the finalisation of the Oil Spill and Shipboard pollution emergency plans,” Lokeris said.

 “We hope that this impediment will be resolved by 15 July 2022 thereby buttressing the country’s preparedness in case of any supply disruptions during Kenya’s electioneering period given that the barge can make two round trips per week,” Lokeris added.

According to Lokeris, prices of petroleum have been increasing globally and this was initially triggered by the post-Covid-19 opening of global economies which required more products than suppliers could meet.

“The Russia-Ukraine war has further affected the supply chain resulting in high supply premiums since products from that region can no longer be accessed. The ministry commits to closely monitor the industry to ensure that it continues to thrive in a free and fair competitive environment,” Lokeris said.

Tayebwa however, said that since the minister’s statement did not provide solutions to curbing the rising prices of petroleum products, the committee on Environment and Natural Resources handles the matter with all stakeholders.  

“The committee will be supported by technical people and we expect the Opposition to present an alternative to the committee. The committee should meet all dealers,” he said.

Tayebwa gave the committee a week to prepare the report and present it to the House for a conclusive debate.
“Focus will be on solutions so that we can make clear short-term and long-term recommendations to the government,” said Tayebwa.

Hon. Patrick Nsamba (NUP, Kasanda County North) said that the minister’s statement goes to show the reluctance by the government to address the challenge of increasing fuel prices.

“The minister must confirm that we are safe; we needed to hear about what is in our reservoirs,” said Nsamba.

Hon. Nsamba expressed fears of over the country’s lack of reserves

Kalungu West County MP, Hon. Joseph Ssewungu faulted the government for failing to monitor fuel importing companies.

“All fuel importing companies have reservoirs. Is the Ministry of Energy taking interest in how much they have in their reservoirs? We cannot give management of fuel to multi-national companies. Ugandans want to see some reduction in fuel prices,” Ssewungu said.

Hon. Richard Oseku (NRM, Kibale County) asked the minister to return the matter to Cabinet for review with the aim of finding practical solutions.
“Government should come with a position on how to intervene instead of lamenting,” said Oseku.

The country has witnessed an increase in fuel prices since January 2022 with prices rising from Shs4,000 a litre to the current Shs6,000 to Shs7,000.

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