By Ebi Kesiena
President Yoweri Museveni has announced that the Ugandan government has successfully contracted bulk suppliers and refineries to provide petroleum products to Uganda at more affordable prices. The move is set to have a substantial impact on fuel prices within the country.
President Museveni, noted this on Sunday via his X handle, revealing that the government had engaged these suppliers to export petroleum products directly to Uganda, effectively bypassing intermediaries.
While the President did not divulge specific details about the contracted suppliers, he emphasized the importance of this shift in the petroleum supply chain.
“Why not buy from the refineries abroad and transport through Kenya and Tanzania, cutting out the cost created by middlemen,” President Museveni stated.
He expressed astonishment that Uganda had been procuring petroleum products through intermediaries for many years.
President Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, underscored the historical reliance on middlemen for Uganda’s petroleum needs. He acknowledged that this paradigm had created unnecessary financial burdens for the country.
Highlighting the urgency of the situation, President Museveni pointed to significant financial losses incurred at the East African Ports, with Uganda losing $35 on every tonne of diesel, $36 on petrol, and $35 on kerosene. He attributed these losses to the intermediaries involved in the petroleum supply chain.
The Ugandan President also mentioned that he became aware of alleged irregularities in the petroleum procurement process through whistle-blowers. In response, he engaged in discussions with President William Ruto of Kenya and dispatched a delegation to Dar-es-Salaam to address the matter with President Samia Suluhu of Tanzania.
Furthermore, President Museveni expressed his determination to confront any opposition to the government’s efforts to eliminate middlemen from the equation.
He stated, “However, the internal parasites who have been cheating their country have launched a social media and mainstream media campaign against our liberation, resistance plan. As usual, we are ready to confront the parasites.”
The President however assured the East Africans that the new approach to petroleum supply would benefit not only Uganda but also neighbouring regions.
“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 from this,” he added.
President Museveni also denied any prior knowledge of large-scale business deals among government officials involved in importing petroleum products into the country. He expressed his commitment to transparency and improving the economic prospects of Uganda’s citizens.