By Mary Asujo
The State Minister of Energy, Hon. Sidronius Okaasai Opolot has said Uganda as a country is unable to intervene to counteract the recent spike in petroleum products in the country.
The minister’s remarks are in a statement presented to Parliament on Tuesday during a plenary session chaired by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Anita Among, noting that the ever-increasing fuel prices in the petroleum products are a result of global factors, forces of demand and supply in the market are responsible for the spike.
He attributed the rising fuels prices in Uganda to the deepening OPEC & supply cuts, strong world oil demand & the seasonal impact of the summer season in Europe & United States, saying the situation has been worsened by the foreign exchange fluctuations.
The minister however said Uganda’s prices are competitive at EAC regional level citing people from neighbouring countries ie. Kenyans who prefer to fuel from Uganda because the local prices are fairer. He said his ministry will continue to monitor to ensure Uganda’s market gets continuous supply of petroleum products at competetive prices.
This did not impress the lawmakers, prompting Kira Municipality MP, Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda to table a motion without notice to request MPs to reject the statement of the minister saying that the statement was downloaded from internet and didn’t include solutions as guided by the speaker.
Earlier on, Wakiso District Woman MP, Hon. Ethel Naluyima also expressed frustration that the minister proposing that the minister should be sent back because his statement was not aligned to the plans.
During a plenary session last week, speaker Anita Among expressed concerned about the spike in fuel prices and demanded that the Energy Minister was to appear before the House to make a comprehensive statement on the issue stating the government’s short, middle and long term solutions.
The issue received support from legislators saying this has become a challenge to Ugandans. The Speaker informed the minister that since Committee on Government Assurances had a report to this effect, the issue will be debated alongside the ministers statement.