KAMPALA – Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has called on government to set up regional fuel reserves as a measure to mitigate the impact of increasing fuel prices on Ugandans.
She said that the reserves will also help cushion the country from eminent erratic fuel shortages.
“The fuel prices have gone up; what is the government’s immediate, medium- and long-term plan to address the escalating prices?” she wondered during plenary on Tuesday, September 5, 2023.
‘’The fuel reserves in Jinja alone are not sufficient; We require regional fuel reserves given the ever rising demand for fuel,’’ she added.
The Speaker was responding to a statement by the Minister of State for Energy, Mr Sidronius Okaasai, to the House on the unmitigated spike in fuel prices.
In his statement, Minister Okaasai said that global factors beyond Uganda’s making are behind the spike, and that there is not much his ministry can do.
“The surge in global oil demand to record levels, especially during the summer season in Europe and the United States, has put immense pressure on oil prices; thus high demand, driven by seasonal factors and increased economic activity, has contributed significantly to the recent spike in fuel prices worldwide,” he said.
However, this did not go down well with the legislators.
Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (FDC, Kira Municipality) asked Minister Okaasai about the much talked about fuel reserves, saying short of solutions, Parliament should not entertain the statement.
“He [Minister Okaasai] should come here and tell us what happened to the reserves, short of which I move a motion without notice for Parliament to reject the statement,” he said.
In her guidance, Speaker Among argued that whereas pricing in a free market economy like Uganda is dependent on demand and supply, government should devise means of preventing the erosion of disposable income of many Ugandans, which may lower their living standards.
She further asked the government to develop a tangible plan to scout around the hikes in prices, instead of folding hands and allowing market forces to determine what becomes of Ugandans.