Government urged to nationalise UMEME before 2025

The government has been urged to nationalise power distributor UMEME Limited if the country is to improve service delivery in the energy sector and lower cost of doing business.

This is one of the recommendations in a report titled "Privatization of Electricity" released on Tuesday by Public Services International (PSI) , which is a think-tank.

Professor Alfred Nuwagaba, a project coordinator at the PSI said that the non-disclosure agreements signed between government and private utility firms are to blame for the high electricity costs and the process to nationalise these firms needs to be effected.

"Most of the information is not in the public domain and once it is like this, it brings in the question of transparency, this is where the problem starts," Prof. Nuwagaba said.

President Museveni has of late singled out UMEME for selling electricity expensively which has affected the country's industrialisation prospects.

According to Dr. Evelyn Aketch, the regional secretary of PSI, government should now take deliberate steps towards nationalization immediately to prepare themselves for the task ahead, after taking over the electricity distributor UMEME.

"In the meantime, let us initiate the process. We should not wait until the process is over because then we shall have a crisis in management," Aketch Said.

"We need a process that can be used to get us ready and interest ourselves in knowing how we will manage UMEME as government after 2025."

The report said that if the nationalization is not effected, the country will have to incur extra costs in operations of the energy sector.

The researchers also recommended a need for government to invest in alternative sources of power.

In the early 2000's, government disbanded the then Uganda Electricity Board (UEB), creating several entities in a move that was aimed at increasing service delivery in the energy sector.

Almost two decades later, the call is now to re-unite the several entities to improve service delivery, while cutting costs of doing business in the country.

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