Members of Parliament have applauded the move by President Yoweri Museveni, ordering the non-renewal of the Umeme contract to provide power services in the country.
However, the MPs that talked to Eagle Online said Umeme’s contract should have been terminated long time ago because the company had failed to deliver services effectively.
The legislators’ reaction follows a letter written to the Energy Minister Irene Muloni not to renew Umeme’s contract, citing the high cost of electricity and ineffectiveness in administration and operation. This has prompted legislators to cast aspersions about the President’s directive and its impact.
According to Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Ssegona, citing the recommendation report by the adhoc committee which was appointed to investigate Umeme, the President’s decision has come late.
He says the President either was adamant or just didn’t understand what was going at the South African-owned company as electricity prices kept rising.
“In our report, we complained about the company’s infectiveness the high power tariffs which Ugandans were incurring,” he says.
Ssegona further stresses that the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Irene Muloni has been aware of the mess at Umeme although she never took action.
Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba also shares Ssegona views, saying that the Parliamentary report was ‘self-explanatory’ and the President delayed to take action.
He says that because President Museveni wants to President for life, he will always take decisions and directives that suit his interests.
Rwemiyaga County MP Theodore Sekikubo said the cancellation of Umeme’s is in line with the parliamentary report which established there was breach of contract and ineffectiveness.
The outspoken MP says one of the terms of the contract with Umeme was to reduce the cost of electricity in order to protect the environment.
“However, this has not been the case which led to environmental degradation as people are opting for other sources of energy,” says Sekikubo.
He also adds that Uganda has the most expensive electricity compared to the countries in the region, including those that we export our power to.
According to Kiira Municipality’s Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda, Uganda should have never contracted Umeme to generate power, and advises government to establish ‘a company that is serious’ in order to handle the supervision of generating and distributing power across the country.
Meanwhile, in a sitting chaired by the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday, March 27, 2014 voted in favor of the recommendations of the Adhoc Committee on Energy on the Performance of the Electricity sub-sector in Uganda.
The Adhoc Committee was composed in 2011 following complaints of gross mismanagement in the electricity and energy sector, and the Committee chaired by Jacob Oboth Oboth tabled its report in Parliament in November 2013, after which the government was requested to respond to the recommendations.
In the report the MPs indicated that ‘the contract should be terminated due to the gross illegalities and manipulations encountered in the procurement of the Umeme Concession and the scandalous provisions of these power distribution agreements signed between Government of Uganda and Umeme Limited’.
Members also passed the recommendation that the Eskom concession be terminated following the committee’s findings that despite the reported level of investment by Eskom in the Kiira – Nalubaale hydropower plants, the generation capacity of the two plants had continued to deteriorate.
The committee also noted that at the time of takeover by Eskom Uganda Limited in 2002, the two plants were generating 280 Megawatts but this had reduced to 140 Megawatts.
Umeme, a South African owned company was contracted by government of Uganda in 2011 to generate and distribute power, replaced Uganda Electricity Board.