The committee noted that the inadequate transmission and distribution network has affected public administration and people’s lives through unstable power supply.
PIC: Rosemary Nauwat said UETCL should be strengthened because the company's role is critical to Uganda. (File photo)
PROJECT | ELECTRICITY
Parliament has asked the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company (UETCL) to scale up plans for building the capacity of its staff in conducting feasibility studies and designing electricity transmission projects.
The committee on the national economy recently noted with concern the high dependency on consultancy services in conducting feasibility studies and designing transmission line projects by the UETCL despite their implementation of several electricity transmission projects.
The committee was scrutinising a request for approval by Government to borrow $125.1m (sh450b) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The money is meant to finance the construction of the Kampala Metropolitan Transmission System Improvement project.
The project aims to construct, renovate substations, improve transmission lines and introduce mobile substations to improve power supply and economic development in Kampala.
Rosemary Nauwat (Amudat district) said it takes a long time to get answers from UETCL when they are asked. Nauwat said the UETCL should be strengthened because their role is critical to Uganda.
Dr Lawrence Bategeka, the vice-chairperson of the committee on the national economy said securing the loan has experienced delays caused by poor responses from the UETCL. He said the slow absorption creates more interest charges.
Bategeka said the project would face more hurdles when the commission agents delay the procurement processes.
"The Government should amend the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) Act to prevent delays caused by administrative reviews and whistle blowers," he said.
He called for a meeting with the President, ministry of finance and lenders to discuss methods of improving the acquisition and use of loans.
He added that the loans acquisition process is too long and projects get delayed to be implemented, resulting in limited or no benefits.
The committee agreed to call a meeting with all stakeholders to come up with better methods to get and use loans. They agreed to write to UETCL to appear before the committee.
Paul Akamba (Busiku), said government comes to Parliament with urgency when they need loans and sometimes there was no time to study the loans. He said there should be better methods used in getting and using loans.
William Nzoghu (Busongora North) said the transmission capacity in the country was not growing. He said this means the power generated will not reach the people and industries that need it. He noted that when loans are delayed to be taken up, prices escalate and projects become difficult to execute.
Public concerns have risen about the slow growth in transmission capacity as power generation increases. This poses constraints on Uganda's economic activities.
The committee noted that the inadequate transmission and distribution network has affected public administration and people's lives through unstable power supply.
The committee noted the low average disbursements (20.4%) of direct UETCL loans against project lifetimes. The low disbursement rates are attributed to poor project preparedness.
The committee cited the lack of detailed project feasibility studies, lack of sites for contractors to start work and delays in government counterpart funds. They urged UETCL to use local contractors, equipment and materials that are available locally.