Fuel prices remain high months after govt assurance on stability

Many fuel stations across the country have slightly increased petrol and diesel prices, sparking fears that the situation might get worse. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Fuel stations such as Sena Energy sell a litre of petrol at Shs5, 100, Shell (Shs5, 230), while both Oilibya and Mogas sell at Shs5, 050, Kerosene is sold at Shs3, 330 at Gaz fuel station, while at Mogas and Sena Energy, it is sold at Shs3, 350 and Shs3, 400, respectively.

Ugandans continue to bear the brunt of high fuel prices despite assurance from the government three months ago that they would stabilise.

For instance, in Moyo Town, as of Wednesday  last week, Mr Michael Ecima, a boda boda rider at Omega stage, said the price of petrol at Rock fuel Station is Shs5, 400, up from Shs5, 200 per litre, while at Aulogo fuel station, the price still stands at Shs5, 200 per litre.

“We are being pushed out of business because if we increase the transport fares, we will lose customers,”  Mr Ecima said.

“ In order to stay in business, we have increased transport in terms of distances,” he said, adding that town services have remained at Shs1, 000, while other distances range from Shs2, 000 to Shs5,000.

In Arua City, petrol at most fuel stations goes for Shs5, 200 per litre, according to Mr Joseph Opima, a driver.

As a result, he said getting customers is difficult as people fear to move because of the price increment, yet that is his source of livelihood.

“Government should regulate the prices of fuel because things may soon get out of hand, especially as Kenya goes for the general election. We do not like to see the 2008 scenario,” he said.

In Masaka City, many fuel stations are selling petrol at between Shs5,050 and Shs5,200, up from Shs5,009 a couple of months ago.

Fuel stations such as Sena Energy sell a litre of petrol at Shs5, 100, Shell (Shs5, 230), while both Oilibya and Mogas sell at Shs5, 050, Kerosene is sold at Shs3, 330 at Gaz fuel station, while at Mogas and Sena Energy, it is sold at Shs3, 350 and Shs3, 400, respectively.

Although fuel prices have slightly gone up, transport fares to different destinations within Masaka Sub-region have remained the same. For example, travellers from Masaka to Lyantonde still pay Shs10, 000 in a commuter taxi and coaster bus.

Mr Andrew Kasumba, a boda boda cyclist operating at Cinema Stage, said the high fuel prices have greatly affected his business since almost all the money he gets is spent on fuel.

A manager at Sena Energy filling station, who preferred anonymity, said they receive the fuel at already set prices. 

“We are at the receiving end and when the consignment arrives, it comes with a price already set,” he said.

At Filmore fuel station in Masindi District, diesel is currently going for Shs4,100 and Shs5,100 respectively, while at Total, diesel and petrol are trading at Shs4,300 and Shs5,200, respectively.

At Total fuel station in Fort Portal City, diesel is currently going for Shs4, 700 per litre, while Petrol is at Shs5, 370.

At Rubis fuel station, diesel is at Shs4,590, while petrol is Shs5,150 per litre, and at Fuelex station, diesel is at Shs4,600, while petrol costs Shs5, 200 per litre.

At East Africa Gas Oil in Bundibugyo District, petrol goes for Shs5,500, while diesel is at Shs4, 200 per litre, and at Total fuel station, Buliisa District, diesel goes for Shs4,570, while petrol is at Shs5,270 and at Stabex, diesel is at Shs4,550, while petrol is at Shs5, 230 per litre.

Elsewhere, at Rubis, a litre of petrol goes for Shs5, 040, while diesel is trading at Shs4, 370.

Mr Joseph Bagonza, a supervisor at Rubis, said the price of fuel has increased due to the shortage of fuel in the country, while a pump attendant, who preferred anonymity, said the price keeps fluctuating.

Mr Peter Kyomuhendo, a boda boda rider, said he was forced to also increase the inland fare. “Where I used to charge Shs3,000, I now charge Shs4,000,” he said.

In Apac town, a litre of petrol costs between Shs5,100 and Shs5,280 while a litre of diesel is being sold at between Shs4,800 and Shs4,900. 

Retailers who buy from fuel stations and take to trading centres are selling a litre of petrol at Shs6,000.

In Lira City, the pump price of petrol has increased by Shs200. A litre of petrol is now going for Shs5,200 up from Shs5,000 while in villages within Oyam and Lira districts, a litre of petrol is trading at Shs6,500.In Adjumani town, Universal Energy station was on Tuesday selling petrol at Shs5,140, but by Wednesday morning, it had gone up by Shs50 and going for Shs5,190 per litre, while diesel was going for Shs4,500 per litre.

At Don fuel station, also in Adjumani town, petrol, that was being sold at Shs5180 a couple of months ago is now at Shs5,200 per litre.

At Total in the same town, the price of petrol has increased from Shs5,190 to Shs5,250, while at Petro-line fuel station, petrol goes for Shs5,100 and diesel for Shs4,500 per litre.

Mr Richard Imma, a humanitarian aid worker, said although they get fuel duty-free, they have been restricted to only fuel up to Shs70,000, fueling speculation that the country might be hit by a fuel shortage.

Several other fuel stations have also registered an increase in prices, including Shell on Andrea Olal Road (Petrol Shs5,230), Total Andrea Olal Road (petrol Shs5,290, diesel Shs4,790) and NECO (petrol Shs5,100, diesel Shs4,600).

In Mbarara, a mini survey discovered that fuel prices have slightly increased, while some other stations had no fuel.

For instance, at Total on the Mbarara-Masaka highway and Rubis fuel station on the same road, there was no fuel.

Mr Enock Mayanja, a pump attendant at Rubis, said they are yet to get a response from their managers and suppliers why they don’t have fuel.

Many fuel stations increased their prices over the past day by between Shs50 and Shs100. For example, at Tusu fuel station, petrol was selling at Shs5,080 on Tuesday, but by Wednesday morning, it had increased to Shs5,200.

A survey conducted across eight fuel stations in Kabale town found the price of petrol trading at between Shs5,000 and Shs5,200 per litre, while that of diesel is between Shs4,600 and Shs4,700.

The managing director of Agaba Services, Mr Peter Niwagaba, said although they have not experienced fuel shortage, they have few customers. 

“We have enough fuel but there are no customers; I think people have no money,” he said.

Government officials last week allayed fears that the fuel shortage witnessed in Kenya will affect the supply of products to Uganda.

“Uganda gets its fuel from international companies and the products are available though at higher prices. We are receiving the stock that we ordered. The Kenya fuel crisis will not affect us,” the spokesman of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Mr Solomon Muyita, said. 

In Kenya, the government has since settled part of the oil dealers’ debt and President Kenyatta has signed a mini-budget, allocating more funds to the subsidy. Last Thursday, the Energy minister assured Kenyans of normal fuel supplies after receiving a shipment of 100 million litres of oil at Mombasa port.  However,  the countrywide shortage of fuel has entered the second week. 

The genesis of the fuel crisis

Government despite the clearance of all trucks at the Busia border almost three months ago, the pump prices of petrol and diesel fuel have increased by Shs200.

Mr Solomon Muyita, the Ministry of Energy spokesperson, in an earlier interview with Daily Monitor, said the disruption in the fuel supply chain was due to the strike by truck drivers, which had affected deliveries into the country, leading to scarcity and increasing prices. The truck drivers at Malaba border were protesting the mandatory Covid-19 testing and $30 (Shs108, 000) charge for tests. The protest, which took two weeks, caused long queues of trucks, with some stretching over 90 kilometres - from Malaba border to Eldoret in Kenya. In January, officials from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) attributed the shortage of fuel to unscrupulous dealers, who had hoarded it to cheat unsuspecting consumers.

Mr Julius Nkwasire Mponoka, the assistant commissioner in-charge of enforcement at URA, told legislators on the Parliamentary Committee of Trade, Industry, Tourism and Cooperatives that the fuel that had been imported into the country that month was enough to run the economy and dispelled any narrative of looming shortages. However, Mr Muyita dismissed the  narrative. “If URA is saying that the fuel in the country is enough, they should provide reliable statistics. That is when we are going to believe them because we had 12 days when the country did not receive any fuel supplies while the consumption continued,” he said.Compiled by Philip Wafula, Bill Oketch, Sam Opio Caleb, Scovin Iceta, Felix Warom, David Awori, Rajab Mukombozi, George Muron, Marko Taibot, Michael Ojok, Tobbias Jolly Owiny, Teddy Dokotho, Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Robert Muhereza, Emmanuel Arineitwe, Richard Kyanjo, Malik Fahd Jjingo, Irene Kirabo, Longino Muhindo, Alex Ashaba, Andrew Mugati & Ismail Bategeka