The shortage of diesel has become increasingly acute, with more city fuel pumps running dry yesterday, writes Geresom Musamali.
The business community, however, assured the public that the shortage would not disrupt productivity in the short term because Uganda has a reserve fuel stock.
Uganda has attributed the current shortage to technical problems at the oil pipeline terminal in Eldoret, Kenya and at the Mombasa refinery. But the deputy managing director of Kenya Pipeline Company, Waithaka Kioni, said he was no aware of any technical problems. Waithaka attributed the shortage to distribution.
MTNâ€™s spokesperson Tina Byaruhanga said telephone communication is not likely to be disrupted, unless the shortage persists. MTN Uganda uses 150,000 litres of diesel per month to run more than 350 base stations countrywide.
Uganda Breweries, which operates a fleet of trucks, said there was no reason to worry.
â€œAs far as I am concerned, we have an arrangement that will help us solve the problem,â€ said Uganda Breweries public relations officer Marion Adengo.
Mukwano Industries logistics assistant Aldrine Mpirirwe said they use 56,000 litres of diesel per week on their trucks, as well as fuel for their generators and folk-lifts. She said their fuel supply trucks have been stuck at Shell and Hared petroleum depots since last week. Nevertheless, she said there were enough Mukwano products in the outlets.
Uganda needs 10 million litres of diesel and three million litres of petrol per week. Some fuel stations were yesterday only serving diesel to pre-paid card holders, rejecting big clients who have credit arrangements. Petrol and kerosene supplies remained largely unaffected. Fuel prices were stable, with diesel at around sh1,840, petrol at sh2,050 and kerosene at sh1,660.
Total service stations in Kibuli, Nsambya, Kabusu, Nakulabye and Wandegeya did not have any diesel, according to the respective pump attendants. Caltex Nsambya and Wampewo Avenue stations ran dry as well. Shell Kibuli has been empty for two days.
At Shell Nakulabye, there was only 2,000 litres left of a tank capacity of 8,000 litres. Caltex Ndeeba, with a diesel tank capacity of 27,000 litres, was remaining with 3,000 litres. Energy minister Daudi Migereko was not available for comment, neither was state minister Simon Dâ€™Ujanga.