No longer at ease as fuel prices skyrocket

Cyclists fuel at City Oil Petrol Station on Kira Road in Kampala on July 19, 2022. PHOTO/FRANK BAGUMA

What you need to know:

The high fuel prices keep making the day-to-day livelihood of many Ugandans difficult.

By yesterday, fuel prices across fuel stations in the city centre had increased by Shs150 depending on the location, causing panic among the already stressed motorists.
Total fuel stations had the highest prices for both petrol and diesel, followed by Shell.
By press time, petrol at Total on Station Road opposite the railway was trading at Shs6,590 a litre while diesel was Shs6,390.
The same prices were maintained at Total Fuel Station on Jinja Road opposite Uganda House.

However, a litre of petrol at Total Fuel Station on Ggaba Road (after Clock Tower) was trading at Shs6,560 while diesel was Shs6,340.
A litre of petrol at Shell Jinja Road was trading at Shs6,520 and diesel was at Shs6,150. 
Prices for petrol were the same at Shell Kampala road while diesel was at Shs6120, Shs30 less from the price of diesel at Shell Jinja road.
However, prices were slightly lower at Shell on Ben Kiwanuka Street where a litre of petrol went for Shs6,420 while diesel stood at Shs6,070.

At Petro Uganda on Jinja road opposite the Railway Grounds, a litre of petrol was Shs6,370 while diesel was at Shs6,050.
Motorists expressed concern that the continued rise in fuel prices has forced them to increase transport fare to remain in business.
Taxi operators plying town routes argued that it doesn’t make economic sense for them to maintain old transport fare yet fuel prices aren’t about to go  down.
“We are trying everything possible to see that we remain in business otherwise if we don’t increase the fare, then we are likely to be kicked out,” said Mr Ronald Kasigwa, a taxi driver.

Mr Ismael Kivumbi, a boda boda cyclist, at Kitgum House Stage, asked the government to find solutions to the escalating high fuel prices.
Mr Kivumbi revealed that most of his colleagues are planning to park their motorcycles.
“We have motorists who don’t have their personal motorcycles. This means that such a person cannot save any money since they can only reserve it for their bosses, fuel and food,” he said.

Other Cities 
In Fort Portal City, boda boda riders, said because of high prices, they are soon leaving the business.
Mr Ivan Mugume, an employee of KAT transporters at Mpanga Stage, said previously, their taxi from Fort Portal to Mbarara would incur Shs200,000 on fuel, but it is now Shs320,000 for special hire cars while others foot Shs300,000 for a whole day.

“We are in this business, but no profits are being realised these days,” he said, adding that during weekends, some drivers park their cars at the stage and go home because passengers are few.
“From Fort Portal to Mbarara, we used to charge Shs25,000, but these days, we charge between Shs35,000 and Shs40,000, but our clients want us to reduce the price yet the fuel is costly,’’ he said.  Mr Rodgers Tigume, a boda boda rider in Fort Portal City, said he spends Shs23,000 on fuel daily unlike in the past where it would incur Shs15,000.

“Nowadays, I am not sure whether I will get customers because some people walk while going to work. The owner of the motorcycle in the evening also wants Shs10,000,” he said.
Mr Tigume said it is hard to make a profit of Shs10,000 of late, but previously he would make a profit of between Shs30,000 and Shs40,000 a day.
 Mr John Mugume, a boda boda rider from Mugusu in Kabarole District, said the price of fuel spells doom in the transport sector.
“In the past, I used to spend Shs10,000 a day doing town services, but it is impossible these days because a litre is now at Shs6,800. I have decided to stop driving long distances because our clients don’t want to increase their pay,” he said.
Jinja City 

In Jinja City, traders said they are registering low sales for some commodities due to the high fuel prices.
Mr Musa Kabugo, a retail shop operator, said the prices for some commodities have increased and buyers have shunned them.
Mr Kabugo said customers are now purchasing essential commodities such as food and soap. 

“We aren’t selling commodities such as bread because of reduced profits,’’ Mr Kabugo said.
 Mr Julius Kayiira, a car owner in Jinja City, said he no longer uses his car to travel long distances.
“I normally use public transport because of the high fuel prices. When I travel short distances, I make sure I have Shs2,000 for the boda boda because when my fuel gauge turns red, I park the car and use a motorcycle,’’ he said.

The price of fuel at Total Petrol Station on Mbarara High Street on July 19, 2022. PHOTO/DOREEN AINEMBABAZ

In Mbarara City, the price of fuel has also consistently remained high.
Mr Robert Smith Mugabi, a boda boda rider, said they want the government to immediately intervene.
“Our request to government is to help us and reduces the prices. I ride a boda boda and I put fuel of Shs10,000 in the day, but only earn Shs12,000 as profit,” he said.
Mr Tuhirwe Edmund, a worker at Total Mbarara branch, said the fuel prices are hiking every passing day. 
“This has affected the price of other commodities and transport, for instance, where a boda boda rider would take you for Shs1,000, it is now Shs3,000.

Lira city
In Lira City, which covers Lango Sub-region, the skyrocketing fuel prices have impacted negatively on people’s lives.
Mr Francis Enang, the spokesperson for Lira City Boda Boda Riders Association, said many of their members now struggle to look after their families.
“Many riders got the motorcycles on loans and the companies that issued these bikes are taking them back due to failure to service loans,” he said.
The price of petrol in Lira City is trading at Shs6,700 while diesel goes for Shs6,500.
Masaka City
Mr Charles Kisasa, the publicity secretary of Masaka Boda boda Cyclists Association, said many of their members who were riding hired motorcycles have been forced to quit the job.
“They were not owning motorcycles and earned a portion of profit after paying their bosses. But since fuel prices are high, they can no longer make reasonable profits,” he said.
Mr Denis Tamale, a business operator in Masaka City, said he was forced to start walking to work because he could no longer afford boda boda fares.
Mr Musa Bukenya, a councillor representing Mpigi Town Council, said the fuel crisis is worsening everyday
“Power outages have become persistent and many people end up using generators, but fueling them is also becoming difficult,” he said.

Arua City 
In Arua City, Mr George Acikule, a boda-boda rider, said: “The fuel price has already pushed some of my colleagues away from the business. This is because people are preferring to walk than to use motorcycles.”
He said from Lira City to Awindiri, they charge Shs2,000 up from Shs1,000. From the city to Mvara, the charge is Shs2,000 up from Shs1,000 while from the city to Ewuata, it is Shs3,000 up from Shs1,500.

Ms Joyce Abia, a farmer, said the high transport fares have discouraged his colleagues from transporting goods to the market.
“The transport fares from Arua City to Kampala market and Nyio have increased. We used to pay Shs5,000 but it is now Shs8,000,” she said.
The fuel price is Shs6,860 for a litre of petrol while diesel is Shs6,530 at Total Petrol Station.
 Gulu City
Mr Godi Odong, the chairperson of the Gulu City Special Hire Association, said they have increased the cost of hiring a car, but clients are not willing to pay.
Mr David Oloya Ojok, a special hire driver, said before the fuel prices hiked, he would make a profit of about Shs1.5 million in a month, but today, it is hard for him to save Shs100,000.
Mr Bernard Omera, a boda boda cyclist in Gulu City, said life has become very difficult for him and his family.
“One of my kids who should be at school has remained home because I cannot get the money to pay fees,’’ he said.

Stations  Fuel price (SHS)

Fort portal City    
Petrol     6,820
Diesel    6,380
Jinja city     
Petrol    6,580
Deiseal    6,300
Mbarara city     
Petrol     6,680
Diesel    6,430
Masaka city    
Petrol     6,370
Diesel     5,999
Arua city    
Petrol     6,520
Diesel    6,200
Gulu city     
Petrol     6,860
Diesel     6,530
Soroti city     
Petrol     7,000
Hoima  city    
Petrol     6,800
Diesel     5,300
Petrol     6,700
Diesel     6,500
Mbale city     
Petrol     6,449

By complied By Alex Ashaba, Amos Ngwomoya, Felix Ainebyoona, Doreen K Ainembabazi, Bill Oketch, Felix Warom Okello, Marko Taibot, Simon P Emwamu, Philip Wafula, Abubaker Kirunda, Tausi Nakato, Al Mahdi Ssenkabirwa Richard Kyanjo& Brian A Kesiime