By Our reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has directed Energy Minister Irene Muloni not to renew Umeme contract after raising a number of issues against the power distribution company.
In a letter dated 12 March, 2018, President Museveni said ““There should be no question of renewing Umeme’s concession. Let us look for a cheaper way of modernizing and expanding the transmission lines,”
Museveni’s letter copied to his deputy, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja and the Auditor General John Muwanga.
In the letter, Museveni blames officials at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals for messing up the concession agreements which led to the high electricity tariffs.
“The cheating started with fraud of inflating the magnitude of the technical and commercial losses. The Auditor General had calculated the two categories of losses to be at 28% in 2005,” Museveni wrote.
The losses increased to 38% after officials of the ministry were taken to a trip to the US by the Umeme investors only for the losses to fall back to 28%, four years later, after Gen Salim Saleh wrote an investigative report to Museveni.
The 28% losses accounted for the old wires and debts that Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) failed to collect prior to its disbanding.
“All this time, the losses have shrunk to only 1% while the technical losses have climbed to 17.3% yet the investors claim to have invested $500m (Shs 1.8trillion) in the distribution infrastructure. If they have invested so much money, why do the technical losses not decline? Museveni wondered.
The president went ahead by directing the IGG to take up investigations into the issues he raised, and also demanded for an explanation from Muloni.