Campaign Boosts Fuel Quality Education in Eastern Uganda Districts

In an effort to educate the public about fuel quality and quantity standards, the Fuel Marking and Quality Monitoring (FMQP) conducted its Fuel Consumer Awareness Campaign in several districts in Eastern Uganda. The campaign, which began on October 23 and will conclude on October 27, aims to uphold fuel retail standards set by the Uganda Standards.

The campaign has conducted various activities in districts such as Mbale, Kapchorwa, Sironko, Pallisa, Bugiri, Bulambuli, Kumi, Butaleja, Namutumba, Manafwa, Tororo, Bugweri, and Bukedea. These activities involve engaging with local authorities and the general public to raise awareness about FMQP and its role in verifying fuel quality and quantity at retail stations.

A key campaign event was a workshop held on October 26 at the Wash and Wills Hotel in Mbale City. Representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) interacted with local district leaders, explaining FMQP’s operations and focusing on field quality and quantity verification at fuel retail stations.

Rev. Justaf Frank Tukwasibwe, Commissioner of the Petroleum Supply Department, led the sensitisation team from MEMD. He emphasised the importance of aligning all activities with Uganda’s Constitution and highlighted the vital role of local governments in delivering services to the public.

The campaign also addressed the regulatory framework for fuel station establishment, particularly regarding the minimum one-kilometre distance between stations set in 2015. However, some districts have allowed unregulated and potentially unsafe stations to be built without proper permits.

District physical planners were informed about the necessary considerations for ensuring safety and adherence to regulations in fuel station construction, especially in districts where cases of fuel adulteration are prevalent.

Stakeholders raised concerns about the ambiguous role of local governments and called for an amendment to the Petroleum Supply Act of 2003. A stakeholder specifically questioned the licensing of fuel stations without canopies and advocated for improved collaboration and information sharing during regulatory inspections.

Rev. Tukwasibwe acknowledged the significant contributions of Oil Marketing Companies to local economies, including job creation. However, he highlighted the challenge posed by unlicensed fuel sales, particularly in areas without formal fuel stations. “Addressing this issue poses a dilemma for authorities, as cracking down on illegal operations could adversely affect communities dependent on them. Together, we need to discuss and agree on the best way forward deeply.”

The campaign also addressed the disposal of adulterated fuel, emphasising the need for a robust system to prevent its re-entry into the market.

Also in attendance at the sensitisation event were Mr Nangalama Daniel Richard Makayi, the Acting Executive Director of UNBS; Stephen Barisigala, the head of Standards, Licensing, and Quality Assurance at MEMD; and representatives from SICPA, the company responsible for fuel marking in Uganda.

Overall, the campaign underscores the commitment to promote compliance among fuel retailers and empower local communities with the knowledge to demand and verify the quality and quantity of fuel they purchase. This effort brings the region closer to achieving the national goal of ensuring fuel quality assurance.