Energy minister chased from Parliamentary committee over insufficient information on Bujagali Hydro Project

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Sheema Municipality MP Dickson Kateshumbwa and the Chairperson parliamentary Adhoc committee on Bujagali; Courtesy Photo

By Mary Asujo

The state minister for Energy Sidronius Opolot together with his officials from the ministry were ordered out of the parliamentary Adhoc committee on Bujagali chaired by Dickson Kateshumbwa for failing to provide sufficient information on Bujagali hydro power project.

The officials were expected to provide the committee with relevant documents concerning sharing holding agreement between government and Bujagali Company, Implementation Agreement, Power purchasing agreement and Liquidity.

The committee was concerned to learn that the said Bujagali Company signed agreements in 2005 yet incorporated in 2007. Previously parliament directed investigations into Bujagali power project after finding irregularities among which was granting Bujagali 5 years tax holiday which opposition in parliament contested and proposing for one year.

“We need the ministry to explain their rationale behind their amendments and we need to understand the obligations of the government and the side of the company and how over time those obligations have been incorporated into the calculation of the tariff.” Dickson Kateshumbwa said.

In 2004, the Government of Uganda procured Bujagali Energy Limited through a competitive tender process to undertake the development of the 250MW Bujagali Hydro Electric Power project. The License issued by Electricity Regulatory Authority for generation and sale of electricity, and the power purchase Agreement signed between Bujagali Energy limited (BEL) and Uganda Electricity Transmission Company limited require the payment of the Internal Rate of Return (net of Corporate Income Taxes payable by BEL to GOU the on equity invested in the power project through a component of the Capacity price. The capacity price payable to BEL is recoverable through the end- user tariffs.

The government of Uganda represented by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development entered into an implementation Agreement with Bujagali Energy limited under a Public Private partnership dated 6th December 2007, to develop, construct, own and operate a clean energy hydroelectric power production facility located at Dumb bell Island on River Nile in Uganda approximately eight kilometers north of the Nalubaale and Kiira hydroelectric facilities, and manage the construction of a high voltage transmission line to evacuate electricity from the facility.

Budadiri West MP, Nathan Nandala Mafabi and Kashongi county MP, Herbert Tayebwa insisted that the minister was being unfair to the committee by failing to give an explanation on unclear information on the project.

“We have given them up to Tuesday to come back to us when they are prepared” said Kateshumbwa after the meeting with the officials.

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