Uganda’s Parliament will reconvene today amid a national fuel crisis.
Petroleum prices have risen from $1.11 to $4.93 per gallon over the past six months—including a nearly 50% percent jump in the last month—after a strike by Kenyan truckers clogged the border.
The fuel emergency highlights the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda, a landlocked country with no major native oil production capacity. Without immediate action from parliament, the national fuel crisis will hinder business growth and put stress on citizens’ livelihoods via a spiked cost of living. Since the onset of the pandemic, Uganda’s inflation rates have nearly doubled from 2.76% to 5.01%.
In the long term, if not addressed, economic stress caused by fuel shortages could exacerbate political and social turmoil. Over the past year, Uganda has experienced heightened electoral violence leading up to and following President Museveni’s reelection in January 2021. Government inaction towards the fuel crisis could embolden political opposition and increase violent protests. Just this month, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja encouraged Ugandan citizens to protest private petrol distributors that were pushing up petrol prices to consumers. Expect parliamentary deliberations on public expenditures of petrol, which has been severely limited since the pandemic.
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Keely is an Analyst with regional expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa. A weekly contributor to the Daily Brief, she specializes in conflict dynamics and geopolitics in West and Central Africa.