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Fuel consumers want gov’t to regulate prices

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Fuel consumers in Kigezi sub-region are asking the government to consider setting up standard prices for fuel. Currently, fuel prices are set by the various dealers as determined by the forces of demand and supply.

But the consumers in Kabale district argue that the industry should be controlled by the government in order to stop the dealers from cheating consumers. The price of petrol in Kabale ranged from 4,040 to 4,140 Shillings at the various fuel stations while diesel ranges between 3,680 and 3,740.

Tom Birungi, a motorcyclist in Kabale municipality says that the varying prices are disturbing, adding that the sector needs to be regulated as a way of protecting consumers and fighting adulteration of fuel and fuel products.

Kanungu district vice chairperson Gad Byomuhangi says that the government should take responsibility to ensure that the cost of fuel is aligned.

Jackson Ainamani, an operator at Lake land fuel station in Muko sub county says that they are sometimes forced to reduce the costs as a result of competition, although, he adds, sometimes the supplier’s cost is higher than their retail price.

Obi Imemba, the National Managing Director Total Uganda Limited says that their price is slightly higher due to the additives they add in order to improve its quality.

Spero Byokunda, the Head of Petroleum Quality Assurance in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development says that although all fuel supplied in East African Countries is imported in one lot, fuel companies like Shell and Total apply additives like dyes, detergents, oxidation inhibitors, octane enhancers, combustion improvers and cold flow property improvers among others.

He adds that the additives create an extra cost on fuel to make the retail price slightly higher.  He however says that although additives are good they don’t change initial properties of the fuel.

Rev Frank Tukwasibwe, the Commissioner for Petroleum Supply in the Ministry says that some fuel companies are run by sole proprietors who risk and reduce prices in order to make quick and more sales compared to companies that run on partnership at international level. He adds that the choice still remains with consumers to determine where to get services.

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