Gulu businesses suffer due to high fuel prices, shortage

Gulu businesses suffer due to high fuel prices, shortage

By Abalo Irene Otto

Boda boda riders and fuel stations are losing clients and realizing small profit margins as fuel supplies constantly reduce, and prices rise.

Since last month, the price of fuel especially diesel in many fuel stations have gone up to 3,950 shillings from 3,600 shillings per litre, in many fuel stations in the district.

Total service center again increased the price of fuel per litre from 3,940 shillings, from 3,960 shillings.

Jerald Arop, a boda boda rider in Gulu town said a month ago, he would get a double profit after filling his tank with fuel of 8,000 shillings only, from Delta Petrol Center, but not anymore.

Arop said his attempts to share the high fuel price by making his clients pay more, have not yielded much results.

 “It is difficult to explain to my customers that they have to pay money for the same distance because the fuel price has gone up.”

“Others feel that paying 500 shillings or 1,000 shillings more for transport is too much, so they choose to walk,” Arop explained.

Alex Ochola, a resident of Layibi central sub-ward in Layibi division said he has been spending double on transport for the past two weeks, to and from work.

“I pay 2,000 shillings instead of the usual 1,000 shillings. Sometimes, I negotiate and pay 1,500 shillings, which is still expensive, considering my other movements within town during working hours,” Ochola explained.

Patrick Oloya, who uses diesel every day for his motorbike said he has limited his movements within town because of the high fuel price.

“I used to fuel for 15,000 shillings and it could last a week; now when I fuel for the same amount, it lasts only four days or less,” Oloya said.

Last week, Iran’s Oil Minister told the media that oil prices had gone up due to production cuts, coupled with increased demand for petroleum products especially in Europe, because of cold weather.

Iran is a key member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, (OPEC).

Despite the high fuel prices, many fuel stations in Gulu have not had enough supplies for two weeks.

Victor Omony, the manager of Delta Fuel station said they have not had fuel for a week, yet they signed contracts to supply fuel to clients from Gulu and Amuru local governments on a prepaid basis.

“Clients in Amuru and Gulu district local governments need fuel for their road works, and we can’t say no because they have paid for it already,” Omony said

“I tried buying from others to supply them but I stopped because the shortage has prolonged,” Omony noted.

He added that the company had lost more than 20 million shillings within three days, because of having no fuel.

“Clients are disappointed... we hope to get some supply from our depot in Kampala by the end of this week.”

While, Richard Romeo, the Lube Bay Supervisor at Total, Gulu said they have not had diesel supply for two days.

“Some clients come to buy fuel and lubricant, but when they don’t get fuel, they never return,” Romeo said.