The Uganda Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) Project National Working Group met on 17th August 2017 in Kampala Uganda to launch the Feebate Study as well as review Vehicle Fuel Economy Labeling options towards the development of fuel economy policies for Uganda.
The meeting was chaired by the Uganda GFEI Project Manager, Dr. Gerald Banaga-Baingi of Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development; Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Ministry of Works & Transport; Uganda Revenue Authority; Uganda National Bureau of Standards; Kampala Capital City Authority; Makerere University; University of Nairobi as well as UN Environment.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Banaga-Baingi underscored the importance of the GFEI intervention in Uganda as it would yield concrete impacts in both climate change mitigation and energy efficiency. Dr. Banaga-Baingi further highlighted that in the past, the focus was always on looking at generating more and more energy, however, today there is a realization that efficiency is a low hanging fruit for meeting energy needs with efficiency efforts in Uganda projected to meet more than 30% of the anticipated demand by 2030. Lastly, the project manager gave an overview of the project progress to date (starting from baseline setting to identification of potential interventions), setting the stage for the official launch of the remaining work i.e. feebate study, design of vehicle label and implementation of interventions.
Professor John Mutonye of Makerere University presented a summary of the proposed feebate study, the design of vehicle label as well as an overview of a data capture tool. His team designed the tool to assist the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to grab all the data needed from various government agencies to calculate and track national average fuel economy going forward.
Currently, different data is collected by different agencies given their respective mandates. As a result, data needed to track fleet fuel economy is scattered. The capture tool will help centralize as well as clean the scattered data. Given the sensitive nature of some of the data collected by certain agencies, the Working Group recognized that granting the tool access to live government databases might present security concerns. As such, the group concurred that until such a time that the tool had obtained high-level clearance, it will gather data from offline spreadsheets provided by the various agencies.
Professor James Nyang’aya of the University of Nairobi presented on ongoing work in neighboring Kenya on feebate design and provided guidance on key issues to consider in the Uganda feebate study. Lastly, the Working Group feebate study consultant team comprising representatives from Makerere University and University of Nairobi deliberated on a reasonable schedule for conducting the Feebate Study and developing the Vehicle Fuel Economy Label. The Project Manager indicated that upon completion of the focused studies, the project will present the results for review to an all-inclusive stakeholder forum to allow for national ownership of the intervention.
The last speaker at the meeting was Dr. Stephen Isabalija, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. In his closing remarks, he expressed his gratitude to the Working Group for engaging in robust discourse on the fuel economy for Uganda and urged the group to see to the quick completion of the relevant studies so that the results can be enshrined in policy quickly.
A feebate fuel economy policy is a fiscal policy that provides incentives (rebates) for consumers to purchase fuel efficient vehicles or disincentives (fees) when less fuel efficient vehicles are bought.