The level of fuel adulteration has declined to less than one per cent, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and the ministry of Energy have announced.
The bodies said apart from the regular inspection of fuel stations and dispensers (fuel pumps), motorists were asked to report to the standards body should they suspect unscrupulous behavior at the pumps.
Fuel adulteration means mixing fuel with other components with the aim of increasing the quantity of fuel the challenge is that such combinations end up spoiling car engines. The most common mixtures include kerosene and diesel, kerosene and petrol; this is basically done to increase on the quantities and the motorists don’t get value for money because of the differences of prices in kerosene and petrol.
Peter Kitimbo, the field supervisor of fuel marking at UNBS said; “If a litre of petrol goes for Shs 4,000 and kerosene Shs 2,000, when mixed and sold as petrol, the fuel station owner will be making free money from selling kerosene as petrol,” he said.
Other ways petroleum products are adulterated include underground water seeping into the tank and also siphoning where drivers and dealers mix petrol siphoned from transit trucks.
David Livingstone Ebiru, the executive director management and financial services at UNBS, said the first step was the introduction of a marking programme that ensures all fuels meant for local consumption is marked at the border points.
“We also have mobile testing van that will do spot samples and tests fuels at all petroleum retail stations, first is to check on the quality of the fuels also to endure that the fuel they have is meant for the local market; previously we had cases where fuels supposed to be going to Congo or Rwanda were dumped in Uganda,” he said.
Such petroleum products once dumped in Uganda deny the country revenue and also lead to unfair competition where it will be sold at cheaper price than the marked fuel products.
Kitimbo said non-compliance has also greatly dropped to less than one per cent but the central region leads with the highest cases of non-compliance.
“Non-compliance means petroleum products that don’t meet the standards they are adulterated, but currently the trends stand at 0.6 per cent and this is especially in the central region,” he said.
Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Kayunga, Entebbe and Mpigi takes the highest cases of adulterated petrol but the standards body working with ministry of Energy are trying curb the vice. Kitimbo also said, they have stepped up their enforcement by closing and sealing off fuel stations that are found with faulty dispensers or adulterated petroleum products.
Rev Justaf Frank Tukwasibwe, commissioner petroleum supply department at the ministry of Energy says traders can make clean money without interfering with the petroleum since the penalties are dire.
“If a truck is found with adulterated petrol, it will be grounded, I shall write to the minister who will have to advice, whatever time it takes I don’t know,” he said.