Uganda is still grappling with use of adulterated fuel in its fuel stations, especially those located around Kampala despite having introduced systems to tame the vice.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards had introduced the use of a fuel marking system and mobile laboratories to monitor all players.
However the fuel marking programme which covers about 74 per cent of the country on average per month has run into headwinds especially due to the limited human resource to reach the whole country. The marking exercise is also affected by the proliferation of new districts in the country which are not monitored.
Rev Frank Tukwasibwe, the commissioner of petroleum in the Energy ministry, told a stakeholders engagement meeting that fuel adulteration was still rampant on the market.
His views were shared by UNBS supervisor fuel monitoring programme, Mr Peter Kitimbo, who said fuel adulteration is still a major challenge in the country.
Mr Kitimbo said whereas the level of adulterated fuel on the market has decreased from 1.3 per cent in January to 0.6 per cent in June, a period of seven months, there was still a major challenge especially when it comes to monitoring fuel stations across the country.
“During the election period, there was no compliance from the eastern and south western pasts of the country because people assumed there was no government,” he says.
Mr Kitimbo attributed the growth of the adulteration to the proliferation of new districts where dealers quickly set up fuel stations without going through the proper process of acquiring licences. “These dealers build fuel stations without any proper inspection which leads to fuel adulteration by contamination if not well constructed,” he observed.
According to Mr Ben Manyindo, the executive director UNBS, the level of adulteration has greatly reduced and most of the fuel distributors are compliant with the rules and regulations as set by the standards body. He said Uganda currently has 2,183 fuel stations as of June 2016.
It is a legal requirement that all importers of petroleum products are licenced by the Ministry of Energy and adhere to fuel marking programme.
The fuel marking and quality monitoring programme was introduced in Uganda in 1999 by the Ministry of Energy in collaboration with fuel marketing companies and Uganda UNBS.
“These dealers build fuel stations without any proper inspection which leads to fuel adulteration by contamination if not well constructed,” Peter Kitimbo, supervisor fuel monitoring programme at UNBS.