Simon D’Ujanga, the State Minister for energy has summoned top technocrats from the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to an urgent meeting this afternoon.
This followed sharp disagreements between the minister and REA executive director Geodfrey Turyahikayo pertaining to a $400 million loan that had been earmarked from World Bank (WB) under the proposed Energy Access Scale Up Project (EASP).
It is understood that this money was supposed to connect one million electricity consumers by 2021 and increase demand for new generation of power.
However, while appearing before the Natural Resources Committee chaired by Kiboga East Member of Parliament Dr. Keefa Kiwanuka the two sides presented divergent views something that left legislators in shock.
REA on one hand said together with the ministry and stakeholders, they had opted to undertake centralized bulk procurement of materials over advancing finances to utility companies.
However, Minister D’Ujanga opposed this saying REA, the implementing agency, needed to first work on storage capacities lest government would lose money and materials.
D’Ujanga noted that government is bound to lose money and materials arising from the fact that REA does not have storage facilities for electricity connection materials. This he said was the norm during t the Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) days.
“We are bound to lose money and materials if we procure in bulk and store at third party’s premises. The other option would be for REA to hire stores or to build stores,” D’Ujanga pointed out.
In contrast, Godfrey Turyahikayo retorted that since the minister might not have been part of successive meetings on this matter, he could have been misinformed. He said UMEME that was charged with storing the materials and being the implementing agency they would only ensure accountability.
“They will check in at UMEME stores and not our stores and we shall have a materials logistics agent who is an expert that will ensure that both REA and UMEME sign off the delivery of these materials,” he disclosed.
However, Turyahikayo warned that if this deadlock persists till June 2020, Uganda could lose out on this loan.
Agitated, Minister D’Ujanga attacked the REA boss for tabling documents before they were brought to his attention.
“REA reports to the ministry and it was out of order for REA to bring documents here. And am summoning them to have a meeting this afternoon at 2:30 in the boardroom,” D’Ujanga ordered.