Uganda has been facing the harsh reality of escalating fuel prices, a challenge shared by many nations across the globe. The global energy situation is increasingly unpredictable, with various factors influencing fuel prices. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that the Ugandan government is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring a constant supply of fuel through all the supply routes at competitive prices, despite the ever-changing dynamics of the global petroleum market.
Uganda, like many other nations, operates in a liberalised downstream petroleum market. As per the Petroleum Supply Act of 2003, this means that the forces of supply and demand determine fuel prices in the nation. Uganda’s status as a net importer of petroleum products makes it particularly susceptible to fluctuations in global oil prices. However, despite this vulnerability, the Ugandan government has been diligent in safeguarding Ugandans’ access to affordable fuel.
One of the primary reasons behind the recent surge in fuel prices globally is the deepening supply cuts by the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their partners, collectively known as OPEC+. These supply cuts have significantly reduced overall oil production, leading to higher crude oil prices. Uganda, as a price-taker, cannot escape the repercussions of these global decisions, but it remains committed to mitigating their impact.
Furthermore, Uganda has experienced exchange rate fluctuations that have influenced fuel prices in Uganda. The exchange rate against the U.S. dollar (USD) was 3615 UGX/USD in July 2023 and increased to 3725 UGX/USD in August 2023, impacting fuel pricing and further complicating the situation. Nevertheless, according to the energy ministry, the Ugandan government is actively monitoring these fluctuations and taking measures to minimise their effect on fuel prices.
Speaking to the press, Hon. Okaasai Sidronius Opolot, Minister of State for Energy, said, “It is crucial to note that the recent surge in global fuel prices is not solely a result of external factors but also includes an increased demand for oil worldwide.”
He added that this demand surge is particularly pronounced during the summer season in Europe and the United States, driven by strong economic activity and seasonal factors. Uganda, as a net importer, is affected by this global trend, but it remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring a stable fuel supply.
Despite being a landlocked country, Uganda has managed to maintain competitive fuel prices. Transit trucks often choose to purchase diesel in Uganda before crossing into neighbouring Kenya due to the lower prices. This highlights Uganda’s dedication to providing affordable fuel options for its citizens and neighbouring countries.
According to Okaasai, the Ugandan government acknowledges the challenges posed by external factors but remains determined in its commitment to ensuring a steady supply of petroleum products to the nation. With a keen focus on fair competition in the downstream petroleum subsector and continued monitoring of global dynamics, Uganda is determined to weather these challenges and provide its citizens with affordable fuel options. As we navigate these uncertain times, let us recognise and support the government’s efforts to secure a stable energy future for Uganda.