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discount geneva;”> RIVA Petroleum, one of East Africa’s leading oil companies recently set up shop in Uganda. Tell us about RIVA and why the decision to set up in Uganda?
Riva has been in operation in East Africa for the past 18 years. Our activity has been concentrated in Kenya and we have had some limited transit business in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC.
We, however, felt the time has come for us to increase our presence in the region. Our plan is to become a major player both in retail and wholesale hence the decision to open new petrol stations in Uganda. We see this as an important step towards presence in the DRC, Rwanda and Southern Sudan.
What are RIVA’s invest plans for the near future in Uganda?
We plan to operate in the two areas of wholesale and retail. For retail we have our eyes on the major commercial centers in the country.
We have already started with two stations but we aim to be consistently above the industry requirements and standards both in the retail sector as well as wholesale.
With Uganda’s oil and gas industry growing tremendously, how does RIVA intend to tap into the existing opportunities in the industry?
Uganda is currently totally reliant on fuel imports. The successful oil exploration in the Albertine region will soon change this situation. The country will soon be an oil exporter.
All the same, whether the fuel is imported or locally sourced fuel companies will remain crucial in getting this oil to the export or local consumer. Riva intends to firmly establish itself as a key player in this field in the Uganda market or export markets.
With the volatile fuel prices across Uganda, how is RIVA planning to out-beat competition?
Price is a key factor but it is not the only factor. Riva believes in focusing on what makes us a viable alternative and that is quality at reasonable prices. Fuel prices are determined mostly by the prevailing currency exchange and international prices.
Riva is already an importer of fuel products from international markets, so we are involved at source, so to speak, and invariably we always offer competitive prices in our outlets.
In your new status as a regional brand, how does RIVA intend to penetrate the East African Community?
We will systematically expand our presence to every country in the community at both levels that is wholesale and retail.
Are there any changes you foresee in the oil and gas sector in East Africa as a result of oil exploration in Uganda?
When Uganda oil starts going into export, we foresee the Ugandan shilling currency strengthening which will in turn reduce the cost of both local and imported product in Uganda. This can only lead to positive change.
Of course there will be other changes but perhaps we should hold back the excitement until the rubber meets the road, if other African oil exporters are anything to go by.
Adulterated petrol has been a major challenge in Uganda’s petroleum industry. What steps has RIVA put in place to ensure quality of the petrol it provides to its customers?
Adulterated fuel is harmful to customers’ vehicles. That is why for us it is not an option. We value our customers and believe in long-term relationships. We therefore monitor our product right from the point of import through the transport process and ensure that our retail stations are carefully managed to make sure there is no possibility of adulteration at any stage. Our customers have testified to this.
Inadequate petrol supply through Mombasa has in the past resulted into paralyzing of businesses coupled with high food prices in Uganda. What are your suggestions on how Uganda can ensure consistent supply of petrol in to the country?
Uganda should lay the infrastructure for strategic reserves to buffer against the shortages that may occur from time to time. This is the responsibility of Government and I am informed that the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has been working on this and progress has been made in this area which is good news.
Currently RIVA has the two petrol stations located in Nansana, Wakiso District. Do you have plans to cover the whole country?
We are in the process of developing more. This will certainly not be our last stop.
As the founder of RIVA briefly tell us what inspired you to start this company and what your vision is for the future.
I was always interested in business as a young person. My engineering training and initial employment exposed me to the oil industry. As I considered the opportunities the industry presented I found it very attractive to me because it gives me the opportunity to do business while at the same time I am creating employment opportunities for other people.
This fulfills my two-pronged life philosophy of “progress but not alone”. I would like to make an impact both economically and socially within this region and beyond.
Lastly, tell us about the ‘FREE MAFUTA’ promotion RIVA is currently running and how customers can get to participate
“Free Mafuta” is a promotion where we are giving away free petrol to customers who fuel at our stations. For every Shs 5000 worth of fuel you buy you receive a free mafuta token. When you have accumulated enough tokens, you can exchange them for free fuel. It’s that simple. It is our way of appreciating our customers and telling them we are here to give you quality service.