“Fill your tank; the worst is yet to come” experts warn of looming fuel crisis

“Fill Your Tank; The Worst Is Yet To Come” Experts Warn Of Looming Fuel Crisis

“Fill your tank; the worst is yet to come” experts warn of looming fuel crisis

Experts have warned that Uganda is about to fall into the biggest fuel crisis ever, because of the actions of her neighbour, Kenya.

The Kenyan cabinet this week directed the country’s treasury to implement the fuel stabilisation program.

In a cabinet sitting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, cabinet secretaries were seeking to address the high costs of living in the East African country.

The top governing organ resolved that government should continue paying fuel subsidies so as to bring down the increasing prices which are further straining public finances.

However, the statement from the cabinet didn’t give details on how long the fuel stabilisation program will come to an end.

The Kenyan government has been subsidising fuel prices by tapping a stabilisation fund that’s capitalised through a levy of 5.40 shillings per litre of gasoline and diesel.

In the fiscal year through end-June 2021, collections were 25.2 billion shillings. The motorists have been feeling the pinch.

According to economists, these actions from Kenya will land Uganda into fuel shortages, the worst so far.

Senior economist at Makerere University, Dr. Fred Muhumuza says that Ugandans should be worried, and that they should fill up their fuel tanks at all times or else they risk getting stuck on the road not because they can’t afford fuel, but because fuel will not be available at many pumps.

‘’We only need to scale down on our patterns of life, even when you can afford fuel, don’t be reckless with it,” Dr.Muhumuza warns.

A section of parliamentarians early this week warned of a looming shortage of fuel in the country if the government does not intervene.

The warning came after MPs learned that the Kenya government arbitrarily ordered two ships carrying fuel to be localised in Kenya instead of serving the entire East African community.

This matter was tabled on the floor of parliament as a matter of national importance.

According to  Hoima East division legislator, Patrick Isingoma Mwesigwa, the Kenyan government arbitrarily ordered two  ships carrying products for the entire region to be localised in Kenya which meant  offloading  the entire consignments into the Kenyan market.

The ships details have been identified as  PMS (Petrol) MT CAMPO, loaded with 133.509 M3 tons (133,5 million litres and  AGO (Diesel) MT ELKA, ATHINA, loaded with 104.748 M3 tons (104.7 million litres)

MP Isingoma further said that ordinarily, 60% of these consignments should have been reserved for the Kenyan market and the balance of 40% left to cater for the regional market that includes Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and some parts of South Sudan,

Failure to observe this arrangement means that Uganda will soon be hit by a fuel crisis especially when the current supply runs out.

As past experience has shown, these fuel shortages have resulted into sky rocketing fuel prices.

Dr. Muhumuza called this piracy.

“Uganda is only using Kenya has a transit, they cannot do that, but I don’t expect much, Kenya might stabilise first, quarrel with neighbours and apologise later but when they are stable,” he notes.

Even when the Ministry of Energy was asked by MPs to urgently take up the matter with the Kenyan authorities before Uganda gets enveloped in yet another fuel crisis, not much has been done.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Solomon Muyita says the  Kenyan government has no right to cap what Uganda requires because of the already existing arrangement.

“We don’t buy fuel from Kenya. Uganda and Kenya plus other players in the region buy fuel from the same supplier, therefore Kenya cannot divert from this arrangement and that is what we are trying to tell them,” Muyita argued.

Muyita was  non-committal on whether the two governments have officially sat on the roundtable to address the matter which might throw Uganda into panic.

He however warned that the fuel stabilisation program might affect Kenya instead if the government in Nairobi  doesn’t run it well.

Dr. Muhumuza has asked Ugandans to prepare for the worst not because the global economy too, is about to make the costs of living even worse.

“Besides the quantitative availability of fuel, the global inflation is still with us, and we need to be frugal for the next six months or more.Nobody should expect the word ‘better’ anytime soon. I even pity people who want Finance Minister Kasaija and President Museveni to explain how we got here,” Dr.Muhumuza says.

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