MPs Grill Energy Minister Over Electricity Distribution

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In short
Members of Parliament sitting on the National Economy committee have today grilled the Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni on what they called regional imbalance in electricity distribution.

Members of Parliament sitting on the National Economy committee have today grilled the Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni on what they called regional imbalance in electricity distribution.

The MPs also declined to receive a 159.9billion Shillings (Euros 42.9m) loan proposal from the minister, demanding that she first avails the committee with a list showing transmission projects in different parts of the country.

The MPs demanded that the Minister provides information on how past approved loans for the sector have been implemented. 

The committee chairman Xavier Kyooma also asked the Minister to furnish the committee with a contract between Uganda and Kenya on exportation of electricity and figures showing how much the Kenyan government has paid to Uganda for the last five years for the electricity exported. They also want a breakdown of how and what the money from exports of power has been used for. 

Minister Irene Muloni had appeared together with the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to table a proposal to borrow 159.9 billion Shillings from the French Development Agency (AFD).

Government intends to use the money to finance the extensions of Hoima - Nkenda transmission line and upgrade of the 220KV Masaka - Mbarara transmission line project.

MP Odonga Otto raised the red flag saying that the loan proposal targets districts mainly from the Western region. According to a document presented to the committee, the loan is to cover districts of Kiryandongo, Masindi, Hoima, Kibaale, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Kasese, Rubirizi, Buhweju, Sheema, Mitooma.

Others include; Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Kabale, Mbarara, Isingiro, Kiruhura, Rakai, Lyantonde, Lwengo, Ssembabule, Bukomansimbi and parts of Masaka.

Energy Minister Irene Muloni told the committee that the investment in the distribution network will provide demand for the proposed small hydro plants in the Rwenzori region and surrounding areas.

Aruu County MP, Odonga Otto said that most of the districts targeted in the new loan request are from one region saying that the country should have a national outlook and that the picture painted by the loan request is not fair.

"So we are not discriminating any part of the country but we are saying it is not fair, if you are bringing a request for transmission of electricity, divide it to all parts of Uganda", said Otto.   
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Otto also questioned why electricity continues to be exported to Kenya when 84 percent of Uganda remains in darkenss.

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Buliisa County MP, Stephen Mukitale said that as a committee, any project they handle must be seen to reach the whole country but not selected parts of the country.

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However, the minister for energy Irene Muloni dismissed the claims of regional imbalance in electricity distribution in the country.

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The Minister is expected to appear before the committee on Thursday this week with the requested documents by the committee and also formally table the loan proposal.


Mentioned: umeme uedcl

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.