Several fuel dealers and many youths have resorted to dealing in smuggled fuel from South Sudan following the recent increase in fuel prices.
Elegu Town Council sits on the border between Uganda and South Sudan and many youths from Bibia trading center and Elegu border town have been drawn into the lucrative activity of smuggling small amounts of fuel many times and making good money.
Uganda has seen fuel prices rising from 3,900 shillings a litre for petrol to 4,400 shillings and 4,900 shillings in other places in Amuru District in just a couple of weeks. In other parts, recently petrol prices rose up to 6,000 shillings.
Kassim Akule, the LCI Chairperson of Lorikowor sub ward in Elegu Town Council says that there has been an increase in the availability of fuel from the ‘OPEC’ boys who sell theirs in jerrycans in recent days.
Akule said that the ‘OPEC” dealers who mostly who use motorcycles to smuggle fuel from South Sudan through porous borders points in Okidi Parish in Atiak Sub County sell their petrol at 4,000 shillings per litter while a litter from filling station ranges from 4,300 to 4,510shillings.
Denis Lamot, a resident of Elegu Town Council said that the rise in roadside fuel vending is posing a big threat of fire outbreak in the town center.
Lamot now wants the authorities to take action in regulating the business to minimize the risk associated with it.
One of the pump attendants preferred to speak on condition of anonymity of his name and workplace for fear for his job says several smaller cars no longer want to fuel in the fuel stations opting for cheaper fuel from the mobile dealers.
He said for the past one week, the fuel at most 70 cars, a drop from over 100 cars daily before the increase in fuel prices.
Geoffrey Oceng Osborne, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner blames the spike in roadside fuel vending on laxity by the Uganda Revenue Authority enforcement along the borderlines.
Oceng says that he has directed the Police to carry out operations to ensure that the business is regulated and risks minimized. The government is yet to give any official communication in regards to fuel prices.
Anthony Akol, the Chairperson of Acholi Parliamentary Group in a interview with our reporter says several of their planned activities as members of Parliament have also been affected due to the fuel prices.
According to Akol, Parliament is yet to adjust the rate of fuel prices which is still at 3,700. As a result of the increasing fuel prices, the prices of transport and other necessities have since increased.
In Bana trading center in Lakang Sub County, a kilo of sugar goes for 3,500 shillings, while a bar of soap goes 2,400 shillings. Transport by motorcycle from Bana to Gulu City has increased to 40,000 from 30,000 shillings.