todayNovember 2, 2023

By Robert Elema


The leaders of Central Equatoria State in South Sudan have asked the government of Uganda through the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to lift the ban on the transportation of fuel to South Sudan via Oraba custom.
This request on the lifting of the ban on fuel transportation became a resolution during the joint cross border security meeting between the leaders of Central Equatoria State and their counterpart of the West Nile districts of Yumbe, Koboko, Moyo and Adjumani held in Yumbe town over the weekend.
Speaking during the joint cross border security meeting, Mr. Joseph Mawa, the commissioner of Morobu County in South Sudan said, the decision to suspend the transportation of fuel was not logical to him because the issue of smuggling is all over the world but not in Uganda and South Sudan alone.
He said, it's just a matter of regulating how the citizens of the two countries should carryout business across the two countries. "The suspension of the fuel has greatly affected us because you have very well known that we don't have main power to supply Morobu County but we only rely on generators to run our office activities including facilitation of hospitals, schools that majorly rely on the use of generators," he said.
"Since the year 2021 when the ban was put in place up to now, our economy has scaled down, generation of revenue is a problem so, these are some of the reasons why we asking our counterpart to lift the ban on fuel transportation so that our services can go on smoothly," he added.
Mr Emmanuel Adil Anthony, the governor of Central Equatoria State said, the two countries should promote trade harmony by avoiding inconsistencies in fuel transportation so, URA should allow fuel to pass through Oraba customs to South Sudan.
"We have seen the custom standoff in Afoji has been resolved and I would like to say in this meeting that, the government through the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) should reopen the custom at Oraba so that goods such as fuel continue to go to the republic of South Sudan," he said.
But Mr Ashraf Mambo the district chairperson of Koboko said, the engagement of URA on issues of fuel is at the highest level so, there is need for the South Sudan leaders at a higher level to communicate with the Ugandan counterpart because there is nothing that they can do with URA at the lower level points because the ban was given by the high authority.
"If the ban is lifted, there is need for South Sudan leaders to control the fuel because the rate at which it comes back to Uganda is more and it's also affecting us economically. We have petrol stations that are even not selling at times and you will find that, it's very hard for a petrol station to sell 100 or 200litres of fuel the whole day", he said.
In a telephone interview over the weekend, Mr Ibrahim Bbosa Kibuuka the Public Relations Officer of URA said, the ban on fuel transportation was put in place by the commissioner general of URA based on the powers that are given to him under the custom laws.
He said, the leaders were notified about the ban, they knew about the challenges and they actually supported the ban at that time. "If the ban is to be lifted, the leaders need to be able to address the same issue to the commissioner general of URA preferably in writing and tell him why they think the ban should be lifted either on economic grounds or other things and that request would be responded to by the commissioner general," he noted.
According to Mr. Bbosa, the ban was put in place because fuel that crosses to South Sudan was making its way back to Uganda in a way of round tripping so, when fuel comes in transit and is destined for South Sudan but when it reaches there, it gets back to the Ugandan markets through Bodabodas, bicycles and this sabotages the fuel economy in that part of the region.
According to the data from Uganda Revenue Authority, at least 9,600 litres of fuel is smuggled into Uganda through the porous borders, causing the country to lose an estimated 5 billion Shillings annually.

The Petroleum Supply Act of 2003 provides for the supervision and monitoring of the importation, exportation, transportation, processing, supply, storage, distribution, and, marketing of petroleum products in the country. The Act further prohibits the sale of fuel in Jerry cans.

COVER PHOTO: Mr Peter Taban Data the RDC of Adjumani District(2nd left)and Mr Emmanuel Adil Anthony (2nd right) the governor of Central Equatoria State sign the communique during the joint cross border security meeting in Yumbe town as other delegates look on at the weekend. By Robert Elema

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