Kadaga Defers Debate On Umeme Report To 2014

Speaker of Parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga
Speaker of Parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga

Ugandan Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has deferred the debate on the report by the ad hoc committee on the electricity sector to February 2014.
The report which seeks largely the termination of the contract of power distributing company Umeme was presented to parliament in October 2012 but parliament has been hesitant to either adopt or reject the recommendations of the report.

Despite protests from MPs led by the Leader of Opposition Nandala Mafabi to resolve the issues in the sector before Ugandans are cheated further, Kadaga said that minister Irene Muloni needed time to prepare a response to the issues raised in the report.

Mafabi said that the more time the Speaker gives to the minister the more Ugandans will suffer high tariffs and faulty billings due to Umeme’s incompetence.

She said that since Parliament is remaining with only two working days before breaking off for Christmas recess the minister cannot produce a written statement responding to the issues raised by the committee and other members within one day.

The MPs support most of the committee’s recommendations which include termination of Umeme’s contract and holding the people that negotiated the contract to account.

Mbarara municipality MP Medard Bitekyerezo said that the negotiators of the contract did a bigger disservice to Ugandans than Umeme itself.

Mafabi also said that the negotiators of the contract need to explain why the contract was signed in US dollars which has made the electricity tariff dependant on the foreign exchange rate.

Government has been dodging the debate and three NRM caucus meetings have been convened to discuss the same. Ruling party MPs were asked not to support the recommendations of the committee and a committee of parliament is currently investigating allegations that government and Umeme have bribed MPs to block the report.

The committee was set up following acute power black outs in 2011 and reports that some people were benefiting from the inflated costs paid to Umeme and the thermal generators.

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