Consumers cautioned on rise in adulterated fuel

Friday October 31 2014

A fuel tanker makes its way from the eastern border town

A fuel tanker makes its way from the eastern border town of Malaba to Kampala. UNBS and the Energy ministry are cracking down on stations dealing in adulterated fuel. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA 

By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Kampala- The last three months, particularly the months of August and September, have seen an increase in adulterated fuel in the market, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) head of Fuel Quality and Monitoring, Mr Peter Kitimbo, has said.

However, according to him, the tendency by some fuel dealers to adulterate fuel, particularly diesel, is now reducing following the standard body’s crackdown in recent weeks.

Speaking in a sideline interview at a workshop bringing together the fuel industry players and the regulators—UNBS and the Ministry of Energy, Mr Kitimbo said between the month of August and September the industry saw an upward trend of adulterated fuel on the market.

He said: “In those months—August and September, there has been an increase of adulteration of fuel by four percent.”

This is worrying because in recent years he said the compliance has been nearly 100 percent. The good news though is that the standard body has since increased surveillance which includes spot checks and testing, a move that is already bearing results.

According to the head of Petroleum Quality Assurance at the Ministry of Energy, Mr Spero Byokunda, by 2009, adulteration of fuel was as high as 29 per cent but by mid this year, the rate had dropped to 3 per cent. “And this has been mainly because of our fuel marking programme that the ministry does jointly with UNBS,” he said.

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Vivo energy managing director Hans Paulsen also said adulteration of fuel remains an issue that should be met with punitive action if the vice is to be deterred.
According to him, at least 15 per cent of industry players adulterate fuel. And for this to be stopped enforcement of punitive leviesshould be considered.

Ministry of Energy concedes that adulteration of fuel has been noted although it is not as widespread as consumers tend to believe.
iladu@ug.nationmedia.com

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