Museveni squeezes Umeme officials at State House, they agree to reduce power tariffs

Nelson Bwire Kapo

Nelson Bwire Kapo

, News

President Museveni yesterday met officials from South African based company UMEME limited over exorbitant power tariffs.

The meeting that happened at State House Entebbe on Tuesday, was attended by four officials from Umeme, led by their Board Chairman, Mr. Patrick Bitature.

Other members included; Mr. Celestino Babungi the Company’s Managing Director, Hon. Gerald Ssendaula and Ms. Florence Nsubuga, Chief Operation Officer.

Mr. Museveni and his guests discussed the increasing power tariffs levied by the power distributor.

A source at State House divulged that the meeting was aimed at solutions to the ever increasing power tariffs. The source intimated that Museveni probed the officials over the matter insisting that the power prices must go down.

The Umeme delegation pleaded with Museveni to rescind his decision regarding their contract, and promised to review rates.

This however, they said will happen after gathering opinions from share holders and consumers through a national dialogue.

The meeting comes after Museveni stopped the renewal of the power distributors (Umeme) deal and demanded for answers on why consumers are still paying high rates for electricity.

In a letter to the Energy Minister, Hon.  Irene Muloni, the President also directed that a cheaper option of modernizing, expanding, transmitting and distribution of power, be found.

 

He further asked the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms. Mulyagonja, to investigate Umeme’s alleged inflated losses and high end user tariffs.

 

Umeme Limited is Uganda’s main electricity distribution company having acquired a 20 year concession from 2005 ending 2025.

According to the lease and assignment agreement signed between government and UMEME to distribute electricity around the country, the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited leased its assets to UMEME to operate for 20 years.

However, according to Museveni, the concession was messed up by certain elements in the Energy ministry and subsequently in the process, it has led to the continued exorbitant prices for electricity in the country.

In 2014, Parliament recommended that the government terminates the UMEME concession citing that contrary to provisions by the constitution, the Attorney General’s chambers did not participate in the drafting of the concession.

Article 119 of the Constitution provides for the Attorney General to draw and peruse agreements, contracts, treaties, conventions and documents by whatever name called, to which the government is a party or in respect of which government has an interest.

 

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