Uganda is now better placed to handle fuel shortages with less distress after completion of the refurbishment of the fuel reserve in Jinja. Restocking of the $3.5m (sh8b) facility has commenced after Hared Petroleum Ltd. Completed repairs.
The petroleum firm revamped the facility under a Private Public Partnership arrangement with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. The facility has a storage capacity of 30 million litres. "When all the tanks are full to capacity, they can last Ugandans up to four weeks in the case of some rationing," Nurudin Yusuf, Hared's general manager told New Vision.
Commissioned in the 1970s, the reserve has been dilapidated since 2007. Henceforth, Uganda has been solely reliant on importation that has left her vulnerable in the event of price hikes on the global stage and uncertainties on the route from the sea. Plans to revamp the reserve had stalled over controversies over the bidding procedure since 2008. As a result of this standoff, Hared could only start work on the reserve in April last year.
During a spot visit of the facility recently, MPs stressed the need to beef up security at the facility.
Led by Michael Werikhe, the chairperson of the natural resource committee, the MPs called for the deployment of UPDF officers to supplement the existing security guards.
"The military used to guard this place when it was nonfunctional but since the restocking has started, they should be deployed urgently," said Hanifa Kawooya.
John Friday, the assistant commissioner, petroleum supply department in the energy ministry assured the MPs of the quality of the fuels in the reserve.
"With that workforce and modern technology, we have managed to deal with some unscrupulous people who used to mix paraffin with diesel. We also have mobile laboratory vehicles which carry out instant checks at filling stations to examine the fuel. Therefore, the issue of quality is no worry," he said.