The quality of motor vehicle fuel being sold on the Ugandan market is of the recommended quality after the introduction of fuel marking and monitoring in 2009 according to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards.
The Executive Director UNBS Ben Manyindo attributes the improvement to cooperation by proprieties in the supply chain. He however noted that the problem persists upcountry because of lack of full time surveillance and laboratories in the regions. Manyindo was launching a campaign on quality and quantity of fuel which seeks to promote the principle of value for money.
“It has reduced since 2009 when this intervention of UNBS and Ministry of Energy came into from29% and our latest figure of June is 3%. That is very good by any standards whether international because the world average is 5% . However if you go further away from the urban centers, the average is slightly higher,” Manyindo says.
When Red Pepper Online edition conducted a short survey among drivers and motorists, the results were shocking with most saying adulterated petroleum products were still selling like hot cake in many parts of the country outside gazetted areas (fuel retail outlets) which is unlawful.
Kerosene is the major ingredient used in mixing to create contaminated petrol and diesel-the two most used fuels. The adulterated fuel is consumed almost immediately and tracking it is quite difficult.
Manyindo conceded that adulteration is a criminal activity and very difficult to regulate. UNBS has four testing points, but the practice has still been impossible to eliminate.
Petroleum products that include, Petrol, Diesel, Motor Oils and Lubricants sold at the road side, shop verandahs, market places and domestic houses while using soda, beer, mineral water bottles and other plastic containers on major highways while authorities look on. This vice contravenes section 14 and 15 of the Weights and Measures Act Cap 103. These measures are not regulated by law hence not fit for trade use.
Besides selling products in measures that are not fit for trade use, the quality is not guaranteed as UNBS cannot carry out effective Quality monitoring programs on the products sold in such manner. More so, some of these products like petrol are highly inflammable that improper handling, storage and administration could result to loss of lives and property.
UNBS is a statutory body under the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives responsible for the development and application of standards in trade, industry and consumer protection.