Kampala – Uganda Police is experiencing a fuel crisis that has crippled its day-to-day operations. Fuel companies supplying the police force have reportedly stopped providing fuel since the money released in the last quarter of 2017/2018 financial year was not enough to clear the Force’s outstanding debts.
“Money was released but it wasn’t enough to clear outstanding debts. For that reason, fuel suppliers have decided to halt services because they are not sure of how the remaining balances will be cleared. They don’t want the debts to cross over to the new financial year,” a source, who preferred anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, intimated to Daily Monitor yesterday.
Another source said some police directors have for weeks been fueling their official vehicles using their own money to execute police work whereas some low ranking officers, who cannot afford fuel have since parked them.
He said he had been fueling his own vehicle for weeks after the IGP, Mr. Martins Okoth-Ochola, asked them to improvise on the promise that they would be refunded.
However, the deputy police spokesperson, Mr. Patrick Onyango, dismissed the fuel crisis reports, saying the crisis lasted two days and the situation has since been handled.
“There was only a miscommunication over the weekend between the police and suppliers. This happened for two days and it has since been resolved,” Mr. Onyango said.
Nevertheless, sources said many directors have halted scheduled upcountry activities for lack of fuel.
Sources added that district, division commanders and unit heads have informed drivers to stop plying long distances until fuel has been availed.
A week before his sacking, the former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura, revealed that police had an outstanding debt of Shs125b that accrued in unpaid fuel, fleet purchased on credit, uncleared water bills, electricity and food for officers.
A similar situation happened in October 2016 where Gen Kayihura advised district and division police commanders to devise means of getting fuel and car maintenance cash, saying they would be compensated.
He made the remarks while launching physical fitness day for police and crime preventers at Mukono Town.
Uganda police is to suffer a budget shortfall of Shs721billion in its 2018/2019 budget as it was allocated Shs 514.7 billion out of the required Shs1.2 trillion to finance its activities.