Uganda: Fuel Crisis - Oulanyah Set to Decide On Recall of Parliament

Kampala, Uganda — Speaker Jacob Oulanyah has received a request by the Leader of Opposition for a special sitting to discuss and manage the current fuel crisis in the country.

"Office of the Speaker has received the Hon. Leader of Opposition's letter and the Speaker will, as always, give guidance soon," Sarah Kagingo, Principal Press Secretary, Office of the Speaker said in a statement today.

She added that, "during the first sitting that the Rt Hon. Jacob Oulanyah chaired as Speaker of the 11th Parliament, he, among others, set his leadership's agenda as a people -centric Parliament focused on national interests and socio-economic transformation of Ugandans.

"Hiked fuel prices are, therefore, a matter of serious concern to the Rt Hon. Speaker and the entire Parliament across all political shades, as the prices negatively impact the economy, hinder business growth and thriving of livelihoods."

Mpuuga's request for an urgent parliamentary sitting to discuss the ongoing fuel crisis in the country is carried in a letter dated January 19, in which he highlights that several fuel stations across the country have run out of fuel while those with stock are charging exorbitant prices.

He says that there is a looming risk of a country shut down in the event that urgent interventions are not undertaken to address the crisis.

"There is a public outcry across the country that demands that peoples' representatives are recalled from recess to share their constituency experiences, offer leadership, engage government and contribute to solving the crisis," said Mpuuga.

Rule 21 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure requires a petition signed by at least a third of the legislators to recall Members from recess. As per this requirement, it requires 186 MPs out of the 559 members of the 11th parliament to sign a petition for the House to be recalled.

However, Mpuuga has requested the Speaker to use his powers to recall the House earlier than January 27, 2022, which is the communicated date for the resumption of Parliamentary sittings.The Clerk to Parliament had earlier issued notice for resumption of Plenary on 27th of January, 2022.

"This is premised on the fact that the crisis is escalating and requires urgent attention before it manifests into a huge economic and security crisis," Mpuuga explained.

Addressing journalists this morning, Mpuuga said that he is alive to the procedures for recall of parliament but also to the powers of the Speaker.

Petrol prices have been rising sharply since early last year, but skyrocketed at the beginning of this month following a strike by truck drivers at the Kampala-Kenya border in Busia and Malaba. The truckers were contesting a requirement for another COVID-19 test at the border even after presenting a negative PCR test.

According to Mpuuga, petroleum prices are linked directly to consumer prices and immediate action by the government is important for the situation to go back to normal.

He added that it is a case of negligence for the government and its officials to give different communications on the matter.

Appearing before Parliament's Finance Committee on Tuesday, Amos Lugoloobi, the Minister of State for Planning told MPs that the government is handling the challenge of fuel in the country that arose from a policy problem to control the spread of COVID-19. Lugoloobi added that the issue is just a disruption in the entry of trucks from the border.

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