By Mary Asujo
MPs sitting on Government Assurances Committee of Parliament were disappointed to learn that government has no money for the national fuel reserves.
This was after the state minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Henry Musasizi, told the committee chaired by Hon. Joseph Ssewungu that government has no money for the reserves and the little collected is shared among the priority areas of government.
This however left the members on the committee shocked after learning the money which was passed by parliament amounting to 12.9 million dollars meant for refilling the fuel reserve was diverted to fuel stock trading.
“Honorable members, it’s very disappointing to hear that government has failed to fulfill its part to provide money for refilling the reserves to avert the current fuel crisis,” Ssewungu noted.
The Ministers of Finance and Energy had been invited by the committee to respond to queries that finance had not yet provided funds to the reserves as expected.
Ssewungu who is also Kalungu West MP, told the members that government has allowed Uganda National Oil Company –UNOC to engage in business to make profits although MPs are more interested in having reserves.
Apparently now UNOC needs 30 million dollars to refill and build more fuel reserves if the country is to mitigate an emergency of fuel in the country.
Musasizi further emphasized that the government will never provide subsidies to fuel but it will endeavor to ensure continuous supply of fuel to avoid scarcity.
According to the MPs, Ugandans will continue suffering as a result of high fuel prices as most people have packed their cars. The legislators added that they thought that the reserves would protect against high fuel prices and transportation of goods and services but this is not going to happen.
It should be remembered that the Committee last month convened a meeting to probe the steps government has taken to end the fuel crisis and also to establish the support given to the Uganda National Oil Company – UNOC to support the national oil reserves to avert the fuel crisis.