Uganda: Fuel Price Hikes, School Fees Catch Parliament Attention

Parliament has requested the government to provide updates on its efforts to address the recent surge in fuel prices that have affected the nation over the past week.

The Speaker Anita Among stressed that although inflation had been contained, the escalating fuel prices were cause for concern as they would lead to a general increase in the cost of goods.

“Over the past few weeks, we have observed a significant rise in fuel prices, which poses a risk of cost-push inflation and will ultimately reduce the disposable income of the population,” she stated during a plenary session on Wednesday, August 30, 2023.

She urged the executive to take immediate action and update the House on their response to the situation.

At the beginning of this year, the government successfully managed to control the spike in fuel prices, resulting in a decrease in overall inflation within the country.

MPs are now worried that the recent increase in pump prices may lead to a rise in inflation once again.

Over the past few days, some gas stations have raised their prices in increments ranging from Shs80 to Shs300, resulting in a marginal increase in pump prices above the Shs5,000 mark. Although some forecourts have maintained their pump prices, traders are concerned about the possible impact of these developments.

Interestingly, fewer people are fueling up their cars this year compared to previous years, according to some pump attendants. Drivers in Kampala have also observed a sharp rise in the city’s average pump price.

Despite these increases, pump prices have significantly reduced year-on-year from Shs6,500 and Shs10,000 per litre of gasoline and diesel in 2022. This has helped to manage inflationary pressures, with headline and core inflation dropping from 4.9 % and 4.8% in June to 3.9% and 3.8% in July.

Additionally, the Speaker expressed concerns about the delayed implementation of regulations to address excessive school fee hikes, which put parents at the mercy of unscrupulous school operators.

“We have discussed the issue of school fees in this House because some schools are taking advantage of parents. We need regulations in place to protect our parents from exploitation. How can we fund government-aided schools when they charge the highest fees?” she questioned.

Sarah Opendi, woman MP Tororo criticised the government for the delay in standardizing school fees, allowing schools to exploit financially struggling parents.