Rid the country of adulterated fuel

Friday October 18 2019



On Tuesday, the Ministry of Energy published a list of 75 fuel pump stations that had failed the government’s fuel quality monitoring tests between July and September 2019.
The 75 pump stations had failed the quality fuel marking exercise that distinguishes adulterated fuel from unadulterated one. Fuel marking is designed to control and monitor the quality of petroleum products in the supply chain.

To ensure that petroleum products sold in Uganda are not tampered with, the Ministry of Energy in conjunction with Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), occasionally inspects oil marketing companies to ensure that they comply with the set standards.
But should government just be notifying the public/motorists of these operators without taking any drastic action against them? Would this imply that the government cares less about motorists. Moreover, poor quality fuel products have long-term negative effect on vehicles.

The anomaly is attributed to weaknesses in monitoring along the importation routes. According to the Auditor General’s report on the Fuel Marking and Quality Monitoring Programme for the Financial Year ended June 30, 2017, light density batches of petrol were imported in the country in contravention of the density requirements prescribed in the US EAS 177.2012 standard. For the year under review, 12,090 trucks of petrol failed the test.
But most importantly, how is government protecting consumers across the country to ensure that when they seek fuel, the pump stations serve them quality petrol, kerosene, and diesel, among others?

Much as the stations will be sealed off by the Energy ministry’s enforcement team, there should be some mechanisms for all oil marketing companies (OMCs) to test their fuel quality before selling it to motorists. This will enable them ensure that they put on the market good quality fuel and nothing less.
Vivo Energy, for instance, has a modern fuel testing laboratory located at their depot in Kampala. At the depot, all their products are tested at every point of loading and offloading to ensure they are of good quality.

We believe if all fuel companies could do the same, chances of impure fuel on the market would be minimal, if any. OMCs should also ensure that all trucks from the various loading points are accompanied with certificates of fuel analysis. There should also be more collaboration between Uganda Revenue Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority in monitoring fuel transporting trucks.

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