Just the fact that some parishes have power poles standing with no lines; these are the things we mi to address with agency rationalization
KAMPALA, Uganda, February 2, 2022/APO Group/ —
Legislators from the parliamentary natural resources committee have asked the energy and mining development ministry for a comprehensive study to justify the government’s decision to merge and modernize electricity agencies.
This demand was made when the committee met with ministry officials on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 to consider the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022.
The bill, among others, seeks to merge the country’s generation and transmission companies into a single public limited company and for the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to be integrated into the ministry.
MPs, however, were hesitant to support the proposal questioning the ministry’s competence to manage the agencies when they are merged and streamlined.
Hon Dickson Kateshumbwa (NRM, Sheema Township) asked if the ministry has the capacity to manage the agencies.
“This is not justifiable because the ministry will be overwhelmed as it is a gigantic duty. It has been noted that the ministries are clouded with bureaucracies that never end and slow down the implementation of so much work”, he said.
Fort Portal Township MP, the Hon Alex Ruhunda, said there are still glaring issues in the country’s electrification push that would be exacerbated if the REA returned to ministry.
“We still have rural electrification just above 50 percent; REA has been able to operate semi-autonomously with so much interference from the ministry and yet it has not yet served its purpose,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ing. Irene Batebe, dispelled parliamentarians’ concerns by saying that the measure will help eliminate duplication and redundancy of programs shared by sister agencies.
“Just the fact that some parishes have power poles up without lines; these are the things that we seek to address with agency rationalization,” he said.
Batebe said that the inefficiencies that existed especially in REA informed the decision to absorb it and turn it into a department of the ministry to help with better supervision.
He added that a study was carried out on the feasibility of merging and streamlining the electrical agencies.
“However, we are preparing to conduct a comprehensive assessment on the new direction of the power agency merger. The intention is to harmonize all these subsectors to operate efficiently”, said the Permanent Secretary.
Ing. Batebe stated that Uganda Electricity Generation Company, Uganda Electricity Transmission Company and Uganda Electricity Distribution Company will be merged into one joint stock company. These, he said, will operate as distinct departments within the company, helping to oversee their functions without interfering with each other.
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