President Yoweri Museveni has undertaken a strategic move to eliminate petroleum product middlemen in Kenya, attributing them to the persistent high fuel prices. The agreement aims to secure a direct procurement approach, bypassing intermediaries and obtaining products from refineries abroad, with transportation facilitated through Kenya and Tanzania.
Museveni, expressing surprise over the extent of Uganda’s reliance on Kenyan middlemen, highlighted the annual import of 2.5 billion liters of petroleum products valued at approximately US$2 billion. In a message shared on X, he emphasized the need to shift away from purchasing through middlemen and opt for direct transactions with bulk suppliers and refineries, anticipating a reduction in costs.
The President revealed that he became aware of this issue through whistle-blowers and entrusted Minister Mary Goretti Kitutu with the matter. However, he noted that the matter had not been adequately addressed. Upon studying the situation, Museveni identified significant losses incurred by dealing with middlemen and subsequently engaged bulk and refinery suppliers capable of offering more competitive prices.
During discussions with President Ruto in Kenya and ongoing talks in Dar-es-Salaam with President Suluhu, Museveni conveyed the potential benefits of this initiative to Inland East Africans. He assured the region, including Uganda, Northwestern Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Western Kenya, South Sudan, and Eastern DRC, of access to competitive petroleum products devoid of additional costs introduced by middlemen.
Addressing alleged opposition to the plan, Museveni mentioned a social media and mainstream media campaign launched by internal critics against the “liberation-resistance plan” to combat overcharging. He dismissed these efforts as misinformation and reaffirmed readiness to confront those opposing the initiative.