Just as you thought the Umeme issue is long dead and one of those very many governance storms that raise only to die with the wind, President Museveni has written a missive asking the IGG to look into the Umeme contract and the controversies therein.
He has ordered the minister if energy not to renew Umeme’s contract unless the ministry avails him with a satisfactory explanations on the controversies surrounding the concession.
In a March 12 letter to Ministry of Energy, Irene Muloni, President Museveni paints an image of someone who is at last fed up of the controversies surrounding the Umeme concession and the fact that a poor job by the government negotiators led Ugandans to paying through the nose for power tariffs and what’s the matter sorted fast.
“This concession was, apparently, messed up by certain elements in your ministry. It is that messing up that is responsible for the high tariffs that Ugandans are still paying for electricity,” the letter reads in part and goes on to narrate the investigations government has been doing into the concession since 2005 when the Auditor General looked into the inflated technical and commercial loses which he put at 28 per cent only for government officials to connive with the investors and hiked it to 38 per cent.
In the letter, the President asks why the electricity consumer continues to suffer the blunt of paying too much for electricity.
“Why do consumers have to pay for both the mysterious investments and the mysterious loses that should have disappeared long ago?” the president asks.
He further orders, “I am now directing you to furnish me with the explanations on all these matters. IN the meantime, there should be no question of renewing Umeme’s concession. Let us look for a cheaper way of modernizing and expanding the transmission and the distribution lines.
“By copy of this letter, I am also requesting the IFF to look into these issues.”