Oil marketing companies (OMCs), united under the Sustainable Energies and Petroleum Association (SEPA), are urging amendments to the Petroleum Supply Act. They propose a provision allowing them to import and supply special petroleum products.
SEPA supports the bill’s idea of making the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) the sole importer of petroleum products. However, they emphasize the need for flexibility, citing instances where UNOC might be unable to import higher-grade petrol products in sufficient quantities.
Anthony Ogalo, General Manager of SEPA, stated that OMCs had agreed to import higher-grade petrol (95 to 98 octane) for vehicles requiring it. He requested that the bill permit OMCs to import such products when UNOC faces limitations. Ogalo made this plea during a session with the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on November 9, 2023.
While supporting UNOC’s monopoly, SEPA cautioned that the bill should consider the changing grading of petroleum products, demand fluctuations, and environmental aspects. They argue that UNOC may struggle to meet these dynamics as a monopoly.
The bill outlines UNOC’s responsibility to import and supply specific petroleum products. SEPA proposes that, in addition to specialized products, OMCs should be allowed to import other oil products not on the government’s supplied list.
During the committee session, SEPA was questioned about their support for the UNOC monopoly, given its potential impact on their businesses. Hon. Eddie Kwizera inquired about SEPA’s interests, emphasizing the need to understand how the bill affects the entire oil supply chain.
Members of Parliament requested SEPA to explain how granting UNOC a monopoly benefits consumers. Hon. Paul Akamba urged SEPA to demonstrate how the law would lower pump prices.
Committee Chairperson, Hon. Emmanuel Otaala, directed SEPA to provide a comprehensive analysis of the bill, addressing common issues related to oil trade, in writing to the committee.