The Deputy Speaker of Parliament,Thomas Tayebwa has directed the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to explain why government has not completed several electricity projects across the country.
Tayebwa’s directive was prompted by complaints from Members of Parliament during the Thursday, 12 May 2022 plenary sitting, who complained about the stalled power line projects in their respective constituencies to the extent that some of the infrastructure is getting destroyed due to delays in completion of the projects.
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA), an agency under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is tasked with the responsibility for operationalising government’s rural electrification function.
“Let the Minister of Energy come and give us a comprehensive statement on implementation of REA projects because government is losing a lot of money. Imagine in some areas, transformers get damaged before commissioning; they put a transformer and for two years, power has not been connected,” Tayebwa said.
Tayebwa proposed to the energy ministry that part of the money budgeted for dimmed energy is reallocated to facilitate the connection of power to communities.
“People are complaining that they cannot afford connection fees, but in the budget you bring us billions of shillings in dimmed energy. Why not get that money from dimmed energy and we use it to connect power to our people so that they pay and use the power instead of paying for power which is not consumed,” Tayebwa advised.
The Deputy Speaker directed the energy minister to present a comprehensive statement to the House on Wednesday, 18 May 2022 on dimmed energy and implementation of REA projects.
David Lukyamuzi, the Busujju County MP who raised the matter on the Floor of Parliament, said since 2019, several government projects have kicked off in his constituency, but have stalled before completion.
“In 2019, government contracted Tisan Company to supply and distribute electricity in Kitongo parish. The project was launched and only covered 50 per cent before it was abandoned. In the same time, government contracted Mega Electricals to distribute power in Butayunja Sub county which was also launched and later abandoned. This has been the case in the whole of Mityana district,” Lukyamuzi said.
Tororo District Woman MP, Sarah Opendi, said the issue of stalled power projects is wide spread and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development needs to conduct countrywide field assessments to identify and address the challenge.
“This problem is not only in Mityana, but also in Tororo. From the time REA was reintegrated into the energy ministry, they have had challenges in moving forward with their projects. The ministry should update this House on where we are with REA activities that had been planned,” Opendi said.
Kalungu West County’s Hon. Joseph Ssewungu, wondered why electricity projects continue to stall yet money was allocated for the whole national rural electrification project.
“In some places, there are no yaka metres yet they were supposed to be free of charge because we passed the money here through a loan. Why are these projects stalling yet the money was allocated here?” Ssewungu asked.
In 2018, Parliament approved a loan request to borrow money amounting to US$212.6 million from China Exim Bank to extend electricity to 287 sub counties across the country.