Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday revealed that his administration has contracted bulk and refinery suppliers to supply fuel to the nation amid reports that the East African country was looking to cut its reliance on Kenya for fuel imports.
In a detailed statement, Museveni noted that the resolution was reached after holding discussions with President William Ruto.
Museveni, in his statement, appeared to walk back from his initial stance of cutting imports from Kenya noting that his country has been getting a raw deal from middlemen who sell petrol, diesel and kerosene to Uganda at exorbitant prices.
“Without my knowledge, our wonderful people were buying this huge quantity of petroleum products from middlemen in Kenya. A whole country buying from middlemen in Kenya or anywhere else? Amazing but true,” he expressed shock.
Members of Uganda’s Parliament during a sitting
Parliament of Uganda
“Why not buy from the Refineries abroad and transport through Kenya and Tanzania, cutting out the cost created by middlemen? Those involved were not bothered by these issues.”
Museveni observed that middlemen sold a barrel of diesel at Ksh17,555 (USD118) even though suppliers sold the same at Ksh12,348 (USD83).
Also, middlemen valued a barrel of petrol at Ksh14,505 (USD97.5) and that of kerosene at Ksh16,960 (USD114), which was higher than refineries’ valuation of Ksh9,149 (petrol) and Ksh11,753 (USD79).
He further argued that the prices were at their lowest when the products arrived at the East African Ports.
“We have now contracted bulk and Refinery suppliers able to give us the lower prices. I have discussed this with H.E Ruto, the President of Kenya and our delegation is now in Dar-es-Salaam, discussing with Her Excellency Samia Suluhu,” he explained.
Museveni further revealed that after his administration discovered the scheme, some industry stakeholders launched a social–media and mainstream media campaign against his new direction.
“Ruto is handling the Kenyan part. I salute his contribution. In a few years’ time, our Refinery will be up and running,” he added.
On November 1, the Ugandan Cabinet approved a bill to be tabled in the country’s National Assembly that would cut its reliance on Kenya for fuel imports.
In the proposed bill, the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) was to be mandated with sourcing and importing petroleum products for oil marketing companies (OMCs) in the country.
Among the top concerns for the move were the continually rising fuel prices in Kenya as well as the government-to-government deal Kenya entered with some firms in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (left) and President William Ruto (right) at State House in 2021