OPINION: Fuel Crisis in Uganda

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Fuel price escalations are beyond just truck drivers playing football and even Corona testing which is budding on all borders across the country. What would it be? As per writing this piece still stirring around to fathom what’s rill behind this.

It’s becoming a week since fuel became a deal of discussion in offices, streets, and all media highlights. Last Sunday 16th, 2021 Ugandans were blown with a morning knock of fuel price which doubled and in some parts of the country tripled. Good enough the unruly was learned and everyone knew the challenge will be solved in just a short while.

Fuel price rockets are blamed upon the build-up of truck drivers at the major importing borders of Busia and Malaba in Eastern Uganda on the border of Uganda and Kenya. The truck driver decided to park their truck accusing the Ugandan government under the ministry of health (MOH) of overcharging them on the mandatory corona testing for any passenger entering the country.

Covid-19 testing comparison in East Africa

The MOH is charging $30 for every single test before entering the country, converting to Ugandan shillings it’s around 100,000Ugshs every trucker driver should pay for the testing. Entering and going out of the country requires drivers to spend 200,000ugshs on corona testing. Compared with the neighboring countries which are doing the same, Kenya tests are for free, Rwanda tests go at 5000 francs almost 20,000ugshs. It’s a wonder why such huge charges from the Ugandan, though it’s not the case, yet when even the testing kits are taxi-free.

Fuel game

The flue rates hiking it seems a business game, how the game is played it’s still not assured. The two allegations of the URA scanner being spoilt and they needed to sort it out and the corona testing are two laughter issues to hear the government depending on them to be the main cause of long quo of fuel trucks at the border.

But what happens then with the truck not moving for over now 6 days since the crisis broke out? Could the government’s planners be agreeable to work for Uganda, the sharpshooting of fuel prices has not prompted the government to make immediate resolutions rather make unfulfilling promises.

On Monday 17th, Ruth Nankabirwa minister of energy and mineral development assured that the truck had started moving to Uganda. And it’s taking three more days to reach the country and many of the government with the Rgt. Hon. Prime Minister Nabanjja keeps promising any time fuel prices are settling.

Right, I may be emotional, but a government that can’t short out issues within the limit of 12 hours has a challenge.

Let’s compare ourselves to Chine, when the corona pandemic broke out in the country the government build a corona hospital just in the space of one week. But Uganda can’t solve a problem that needs just a word spoken, this is really a tragedy we’re in and if our leaders don’t pull up their shocks we are in great problems.

Why should the fuel problem not be a truck driver build-up challenge?

One thing else should be behind the blocking of a truck driver and make fuel shortage in the country. If the challenge surfaced 6 days back and till today the government is just promising to solve the challenge, then there is something wrong. This is not bureaucracy, bureaucracy wasn’t made to delay things but only to guide how things must be done.

Am sure if we shall see fuel prices sloping back to the previous rates, it may be difficult. I hear the Hon. Nabanjja encourages people to boycott gas stations that have hiked their prices and emphasis the two stations with lower rates. But these are still not lower rates.

The current fuel costs are between 5000-10000 for gasoline and diesel around 3900- 4500 across the country.

Would a fuel hike be an intended move? Who knows, but what we can be sure of is there is another problem coming behind all this.

 

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