I have had opportunity to read some writing by Cheeye regarding the Electricity deals, and I think it makes all the sense to get to the drawing board and review some of the things which seem to have been done wrong. It is sad to realize that a country which got rid of all public enterprises is again having private companies doing like the public companies were.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
MP's REJECT MINISTER'S REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDS
By Yasiin Mugerwa
Posted Wednesday, July 13 2011 at 00:00
Members of Parliament yesterday asked Energy Minister Irene Muloni, to include her request for additional money needed to pay power companies in the ministry’s budget for this financial year.
“There is nothing much we can do for you,” Mr Tim Lwanga, the Budget Committee chairperson, said. “Go back to the ministry and include the money you want in the Budget statement corrigenda (the revised estimates) to be presented to Parliament for approval. This is not a public debt; these are domestic arrears and should be treated as such.”
The ministers (Energy and Finance) were then thrown out of Parliament for the second time yesterday. On Tuesday, a joint meeting between the Budget and Natural Resources committees and the ministers ended prematurely over accountability concerns. The ministers were in Parliament pleading for the approval of Shs207.5 billion needed to pay outstanding arrears for thermal power supplied by private companies.
Aston Kajara (junior Finance) and Ms Irene Muloni (Energy) failed to convince the MPs after the lawmakers insisted that it was illegal for government to request for the funds before Parliament approves the revised estimates for this year’s budget.
The committee rejected claims by Mr Kajara that the money being requested by government to pay thermal power companies was a “public debt”. The Accountant General in the ministry of Finance, Gustavio Bwoch, had earlier advised the committee that the money requested for should be treated as domestic arrears but not public debt.
Ms Muloni told the committee that the projected subsidy required for 2011/12 financial year is Shs455.96 billion. She added that when the outstanding bill of Shs207.5 billion is taken into consideration, the bill totals Shs663.4 billion.
The ministers explained that the Shs92 billion that was approved by Parliament in April was used to settle part of the arrears.
A suggestion by the ministers to divert money meant for poverty reduction to pay the power producers irked the MPs. “We expect about Shs325 billion from the World Bank under the Poverty Reduction Sector Credit 9 and other budget support from the donors,” Mr Kajara said, adding: “We are going to use this money to meet the current expenditures on the power subsidy.”
The MPs rejected the plan and instead called for a forensic audit to ascertain the value for money, which the government spends on subsidising power tariffs. “We want things to be done right. These ministers should stop threatening us with load shedding,” Kitgum Woman MP Beatrice Anywar said. “By refusing to approve this money, we are not sabotaging the economy; it’s just that there are a lot of “potholes” in the information they are giving us.”
MP Odonga Otto (Aruu) demanded details of the quantity of power supplied by private companies while other lawmakers asked for the details of the owners of the power companies.
Shadow Finance Minister Geoffrey Ekanya asked the government to disclose the details of the Escrow Account (a trust account held in the borrower’s name to pay obligations such as property taxes and insurance premiums). But Kajara said he did not have information detailing the transactions on the Escrow account. They also demanded a copy of an investigation report into the power sector that was conducted by the President’s brother, Gen. Salim Saleh, last year.
The report had recommended for a reduction in power tariffs by at least 49 per cent. It revealed that Shs300 billion is being stolen by some unnamed bureaucrats and officials of private electricity firms every year through tariff manipulation.
While President Museveni welcomed the suggestion in the report, Permanent Secretary Kabagambe-Kaliisa discredited it as “substandard”. The ministers were asked to return to Parliament tomorrow.
CHEEYE, BUMBA CLASH OVER THERMAL PROJECT
Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi & Angelo Izama
2 May 2005
Kampala — The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ms Syda Bumba, and Mr Teddy Ssezi Cheeye are locked in a bitter row over the hiring of Aggreko International Power Projects to develop a 50 megawatts (MW) thermal electricity generating plant in Kampala.
Cheeye, the Director for Economic Monitoring at the Internal Security Organisation (ISO), says the $167.8 million (about Shs300 billion) project is inflated by over $9 million (about Shs16 billion).