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MPs Block UMEME’s performance statement

Members of Parliament have blocked Umeme’s statement (PHOTO /File)

Members of Parliament have blocked the presentation of a government statement on the performance of UMEME, insisting that it would be a wasted effort because the House already recommended termination of the contract with the power distribution company.

Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa was scheduled to present a statement on the general overview of the performance of UMEME in the plenary session chaired by the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulannyah.

However, Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda objected, saying that it was procedurally wrong to discuss a matter which had been concluded.

Parliament demanded that government cancels its contract with UMEME in 2014 following a report by an Ad hoc committee on Energy which reported that the company had benefitted from a dubious process in 2004.

They questioned the manner in which the UMEME was procured and the ‘outrageous’ terms of the agreements signed between the government and UMEME.

“The committee found out that because of the peripheral role played by the Attorney General in the drafting of the power concession agreements, their terms and conditions were skewed to favour Umeme at the expense of the government and the people of Uganda as evidenced by the scandalous provisions…” read part of the committee report.

It is on the basis of this that Ssemujju wondered why parliament was entertaining a statement on the performance of a company whose contract the House directed to be terminated.

But Nankabirwa argued that the statement she was due to present was demanded by the same parliament that was blocking it.

Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi also told parliament that the concession of UMEME runs up to 2025 and that terminating their contract would create a liability of close to USD 600 million.

Speaker Jacob Oulanyah closed discussions on the matter saying that the item currently stands withdrawn from the order paper pending consultations.

In November 2013 Uganda MPs urged the government to terminate Umeme’s power contract however, the contractor defended itself saying that it invested heavily to improve the power network in the country.

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