Museveni says fuel import reform was long overdue

President of The Republic of Uganda HE Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. PHOTO/FILE

President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday, November 5, defended the Government’s decision to buy fuel directly from refineries rather than middlemen, saying Ugandans were incurring huge losses. 

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, Museveni revealed that the matter of high costs of importing fuel had been brought to his attention and he had directed the relevant officials to handle but they had frustrated him. 

The President wondered why the whole country would buy from middlemen in Kenya or anywhere else.  

“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 said. 

“Some few years ago, I got to know this information from whistle-blowers. I handed the matter to Minister Goretti Kituttu (former Minister of Energy and Mineral Development) to handle. About a year ago, I got to know that the matter was never handled. When I studied the issue, I discovered that we lose so much by buying through the middlemen,” Museveni said. 

The President also laid out in detail the prices both of bulk suppliers and middlemen per tonne, indicating that for diesel, from the middlemen was $118 (sh448,400) while the price from bulk suppliers or refiners was $83 (315,400) for petrol, the middlemen’s price was $97.5 (sh380,500) while the bulk suppliers or refiners’ price $61.5 (sh233,700); and the price of kerosene was $114 (sh433,200) from the middlemen while the bulk suppliers or refiners charged $79 (sh300,200). 

Museveni’s statement comes in the wake of Cabinet’s approval of changes to the petroleum law that will allow Vitol to exclusively supply the state-owned Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) fuel at subsidised costs, dealing a heavy blow to the middlemen in Kenya who have been supplying 90 per cent of the oil to Uganda. 

Energy minister Ruth Nankabirwa last week said Vitol and UNOC had already signed the contract and the first exclusive supplies were expected in January. 

On Friday, Nankabirwa, energy ministry permanent secretary Irene Batebe, and John Friday, the assistant commissioner petroleum supply, flew to Tanzania for an engagement with their colleagues over the deal. 

President Museveni’s statement in full; 

Fellow Ugandans and, especially, the Bazzukulu. 

Greetings. 

I have a number of issues to share with you. Let me start with the kuseerwa (being over-charged) for the petroleum products from abroad. When we came into Government, we assumed that the Civil Servants would deal with money, administration, procurement, etc., and we would deal with policy, ideology, strategy, security, etc. 

However, in a number of cases, these wonderful People, really let down their country. Take the issue of importation of petroleum products. Uganda imports petroleum products of the magnitude of 2.5billion liters per annum valued at about US$ 2bn. 

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. 

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. 

Some few years ago, I got to know this information from whistle-blowers. I handed the matter to Minister Kituttu to handle. About a year ago, I got to know that the matter was never handled. When I studied the issue, I discovered that we lose so much by buying through the middlemen. 

A check on one occasion a few months ago, showed that the middlemen were selling us petroleum products at prices as indicated below per tonne: 

  1. Diesel: 
  2. Middlemen’s price – $118; 
  3. Price from bulk suppliers or Refiners -$83;
  1. Petrol: 
  2. Middlemen’s price -$97.5; 
  3. Bulk suppliers or Refiners’ price- $61.5; 
  1. Kerosene: 
  2. Middlemen’s price – $114; 
  3. Bulk suppliers or Refiners’ price – $79 

These are prices when the products have arrived at the East African Ports. You can see the huge loss Uganda has been incurring on account of our wonderful People. 

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.

However, the internal parasites who have been cheating their country, have launched a social–media and mainstream media campaign against our liberation- resistance plan against okuseerwa (being over-charged), assisted by the ever pro-parasite paper known as Monitor. As usual, we are ready to confront the parasites.

H.E Ruto is handling the Kenyan part. I salute his contribution. In a few years’ time, our Refinery will be up and running. I can assure the Inland East Africans of competitive petroleum products, free of distributions caused by middlemen.

The whole of Uganda, North-Western Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Western Kenya, South Sudan and Eastern DRC, will benefit. Down with the social media and mainstream media misinformers.  

Signed: Yoweri K. Museveni Gen (Rtd) Ssaabalwanyi

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