Choking fuel prices affect thousands countrywide

A pump attendant at Julius fuel station in Hoima City where a litre of petrol was being sold at Shs12,000 on January 13, 2022. PHOTOS/ALEX TUMUHIMBISE

What you need to know:

  • In Hoima Oil City, a litre of petrol was selling at Shs12,000 by Friday.

Motorists have to dig deeper into their pockets following an increment in fuel prices countrywide. 

In Kampala, local pump prices have skyrocketed, with a litre of petrol going for Shs4,960 at major pumps by press time. The highest prices were at Total filling stations in and around Kampala, with most of them selling a litre of petrol at between Shs4,590 and Shs4,960.

At the beginning of the year, a litre of petrol at major filling stations was selling at Shs4,700 and diesel at about Shs3,900.

In Teso sub-region, a series of filling stations were out of fuel on Friday, with the few that had selling a litre of petrol at more than Shs5,000, while Diesel was being sold between Shs4,500 and Shs4,600.

Mr Maxwell Opali, a taxi operator in Soroti City, told Sunday Monitor that they were to convene a meeting to have the fares for Soroti –Lira and other destinations within Teso revised upwards.

“The shortest routes we operate here in Teso, have been costing us fuel of Shs100,000, but by Friday, the drivers plying those routes had to part with Shs180,000 for fuel on the same routes,” Mr Opali said.

In the north
In Koboko District, fuel prices ranged from Shs4,800 to Shs5,200 at the different fuel stations by press time.
For instance, at Rock Fillings Station, a litre of petrol was being sold at Shs4,800, while kerosene was going for Shs3,500 and diesel at Shs4,200.

Mr Francis Alimani, the pump manager, attributed the increase in prices to scarcity of fuel at production level.
At Don petrol station, a litre of petrol was being sold at Shs5,200, kerosene (Shs3,500) and diesel (Shs4,450) 
At Skao petrol station, a litre of petrol was selling at Shs4,800, diesel (Shs4,200). At Total petrol station, a litre of petrol was at Shs4,980, while diesel was at Shs4,400.

Meanwhile in Gulu City, the cost of fuel was slowly increasing by yesterday.

At Total, a litre of petrol was selling at Shs4,900, while diesel was at Shs4,400. 
At Shell, a litre of petrol was being sold at Shs5,000, while diesel was at Shs4,200. 

At NECO, a litre of petrol was being sold at Shs4,900, while diesel was at Shs4,200 a litre.

At Don, petrol was being sold at Shs4,999, and diesel at Shs4,240. 
At Kobil, a litre of petrol was at Shs4,950, while diesel was at Shs4,180. 
At GAZ, petrol was at Shs4,950 a litre, while diesel was at Shs4,200.

Mr William Kobe, who has been using his car to do deliveries within the city, said he was forced to park it due to the increasing cost of fuel.

A boda boda rider refuels his motorcycle using fuel bought from a roadside vendor in Pamba Cell, Soroti City West on January 14, 2022. PHOTO/GEORGE MURON

In Yumbe District, fuel prices have also gone up. At the various fuel stations, by press time, a litre of petrol was selling at Shs5,200 and diesel at Shs4,200. Meanwhile, the roadside fuel dealer were selling a litre of petrol at Shs4,000.

The countrywide outcry comes at the time international oil prices per barrel are hitting all time high, with the price of an oil barrel, as of Friday, trading at $83.10 (Shs294,000). A barrel is equivalent to 159 litres.

Mr Jemba Kanakulya, the Kampala Capital City Traders Association (Kacita) deputy spokesperson, said whenever fuel prices are high, the prices of other items shoot up because fuel is the key indicator of the performance of the economy.

“We are now experiencing a hyperinflation and government is not ready to accept that, besides Covid-19 impacts,” he said.

Mr Gilbert Otim, the Stabex Uganda spokesperson, noted that they are experiencing fuel scarcity because the fuel trucks are not coming in.

Mr Mustafa Mayambala, the chairman of Driver and Conductors Central Association, said the transport fares have increased because the drivers don’t want to operate at a loss because of the high fuel prices.

By press time, at Shell Soroti and Kumi, a litre of petrol was being sold at Shs4,810, while at Total, petrol was selling at Sh4,910 per litre.

Mr Raymond Okello, a boda boda rider, said amid the rising prices, clients are not willing to accept new transport charges.

“We now clash with our clients. They don’t want to adjust to new rates that match the fuel prices,” Mr Okello said.

In Hoima Oil City, transport and other businesses were on Friday left paralyzed after a fuel crisis hit the city.
Majority of fuel stations had by Friday run out of both petrol and diesel, which resulted in skyrocketing of prices.

A motorist pushes his motorcycle after running out of fuel in Hoima Town on January 13, 2022. 

Mr David Byamukama of Kabagambe Service Stations in Hoima told Sunday Monitor that many reservoirs at fuel stations had run out following a drastic decline in supply.

“There is acute scarcity, we have some fuel left but the price is high. Since mid-last month, supply started going down. If we were getting 10 trucks a week, we have now been getting about two trucks,” he said. 

In Fort Portal City, both taxi operators and boda boda riders were complaining over the increment in fuel prices.
At Tin petrol station, a litre of petrol was being sold at Shs5,999, while that of diesel was at Shs5,200.
At Total, petrol was at Shs4,750 a litre, while diesel was at Shs4,320.
At Don, petrol was at Shs5,500 a litre, while diesel was at Shs4,080.
At Rubis, a litre of petrol was at Shs4,750, while that of diesel was at Shs4,190.

In Masaka City, fuel pump prices were by yesterday morning ranging from Shs4,850 to Shs5,500 per litre of petrol at various filling stations.

At Shell Buddu, a litre of petrol was selling at Shs4,850, while at the nearby Mogas the same was at Shs5,500. 

A litre of diesel at several fuel stations was ranging from Shs3,999 to Shs4,140, while kerosene was being sold at between Shs3,850 and Shs3,900.

Ms Judith Nazziwa, the director of St Maurice Rainbow Nursery and Primary School Kalisizo, Kyotera District, said due to the rising fuel prices, she suspended picking and dropping of pupils.

“I thought about increasing some fees to cater for such unplanned costs, but I could hardly do so since the government stopped us from demanding extra fees,” she said.  

“Many pupils who cannot walk to school daily are still at home and I know some parents are planning to enroll them in nearby public schools,” she added.

In Kisoro Town, most fuel stations were selling a litre of petrol at Shs5,000, although many were closed after they ran out of stock.

What government says...

Mr Solomon Muyita, the Ministry of Energy spokesperson, told this newspaper yesterday that government issued guidelines that every person entering Uganda through the border must have a valid negative Covid test.

“Many of our fuel truck drivers did not have the Covid-19 vaccination certificates and we got a bit of congestion at the border. The trucks were not coming in after Christmas and by mid-January, all the trucks had parked 50kms away from the border in Kenya but the government has since intervened,” he said.

He added that the government on Wednesday sent a team of medical and security officers to all borders to do free testing of all truck drivers and trucks have started coming.

“While the trucks had parked, they caused a fuel shortage and vendors increased the fuel price because the demand is higher than the supply, and we are operating in a free market economy where supply and demand affect each other,” he said.

The Energy ministry yesterday released a statement on the escalating fuel prices and the supply disruptions at Malaba and Busia border points.

The statement indicates that the supply was normal, with trucks being cleared as usual and drivers were allowed to present negative Covid-19 results from Kenya and this resulted into buildup of trucks as none were entering the country.

“As of January 12, the Ministry of Health commenced free Covid-19 testing at Malaba and Busia border points. The trucks started moving and the pace of truck movement started improving. Speculators hoarding petroleum products and leading to unnecessary hike in fuel prices are advised to desist from this bad practice. The price of petrol in the country should not exceed Shs5,000 per litre,” the statement reads in part.
*Compiled by Simon Peter Emwamu, Benson Tumusiime, George Muron, Alex Tumuhimbise, Alex Ashaba, Al Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Richard Kyanjo, Rashil Adidi, Robert Elema, Patrick Okaba, Marko Taibot, Robert Muhereza & Banabasi Kamusiime.