The current fuel stock in the government’s reserve tanks in Jinja District, though on the rise, can drive the country for just two days, Daily Monitor has learnt.
While the stock has increased from 350,000 litres in May 2017 to 8.7 million litres as of August 2018, should the volume remain unchanged, a spike in consumption and an interruption in supply from the Middle East through Kenya and Tanzania would mean a crisis for industry and motorists.
The reserve tanks capacity is 30 million litres; and should at the worst have 40 per cent of that volume to pad the country against hits such as the ones experienced in late 2007 and early 2008 when supply through Kenya was cut off.
Mr John Bosco Habumugisha, the acting chief executive officer of the Uganda National Oil Company (Unoc), said the increase is due to deliberate replenishing of stock, starting July 2017.
“This volume [8.7 million litres] is not owned by the government. “[It] belongs to a private partner [One Petroleum Consortium] working with us. That is why we insist [Uganda] needs [its] own volumes,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Mugagga, Unoc’s chief finance officer, said Uganda “has zero strategic stock.”
“It is the only country in the world in such a situation. If anything were to happen today, and the borders were closed, after two weeks you will have ‘real issues,” Mr Mugagga said.
“Our intent, now [that] we are more accountable, [is] to buy these 12 million litres to form trading stock for Unoc and also have some strategic stock for the country,” he added.
Mr Mugagga said Unoc needs at least $11m (Shs41.9b) to buy fuel for the national fuel reserve.
Last week, the State Minister for Energy, Mr Peter Lokeris, said they were in talks with Finance on the importance of State-owned reserves.
In June 2017, Irene Muloni, the Minister of Energy, told Parliament Uganda’s monthly mean consumption of fuel (petrol, diesel, kerosene and jet-A1) is 162, 657, 212 litres.
“That means the country consumes on average 5.4 million litres of fuel products on a daily basis,” Ms Muloni said on June 26, 2017.
Ms Muloni was responding to concerns by Kefa Kiwanuka, the Member of Parliament of Kiboga South, of the fluctuating fuel prices then.
Currently, the fuel prices are on the rise with petrol now costing at least Shs4, 300, up from Shs4, 000 two months ago.
As a result of the rise, some individuals that used to drive their sedans from their homes to offices and back now travel by public commuter vans.
Though the town service commuter vans have increased their fares by Shs500, because such vans operating costs are spread across, say, fourteen passengers, for some individuals it now appears cheaper to commute by public means.
Yet others on the Kampala–Kireka–Bweyogerere–Namanve route, and can make it on time, use the Uganda Railways Corporation passenger service – whose fares remain unchanged