KAMPALA, Uganda—A few days ago President Yoweri Museveni’s letter to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development in Uganda, Irene Muloni landed to the media. In the letter, Museveni was questioning why power distributor Umeme had failed to cut end user power tariffs which he said remain high and sought explanation.
The presidents’ concern comes at a backdrop of many similar complaints raised by different stakeholders about the company especially in regard to random power outages let alone high tariffs, including the manner in which the concession that gave the company 25 years of operation was concluded between government officials and the company which raised questions and at one point promoted parliament to call for termination of the concessions.
The recent development in which the president’s attention has been attracted to the whole issue was seen by many as the last kick to the company’s future in Uganda’s energy sector had finally met it is final dead end.
In response, the company treated the news that made headlines on different media platforms as a social media hoax and published a statement stating that the company had not received any formal information to that effect.
However, before 24 hours could end after the news of the president asking the Minister not to consider renewing Umeme’s concession which is still running till 2025 could elapse, the company convened a meeting with the head of state.
President Yoweri Museveni met and held discussions with four officials from Umeme, led by their Board Chairman, Mr. Patrick Bitature, who called on him that evening at State House Entebbe.
It was reported that Museveni and his guests discussed the increasing power tariffs levied by the power distributor.
Other members included, Mr. Celestino Babungi the Company's CEO, Chief Financial Officer, Hon. Gerald Ssendaula and Ms. Florence Nsubuga, Chief Operation Officer.
President Museveni stopped the renewal of the power distributor’s (Umeme) deal and demanded for answers on why consumers are still paying high rates for electricity.
The details of the meeting between the embattled company remained unclear by press time, but the question that lingers in the minds of many is that will Umeme outsmart the concerns of the president as well as it did with the concerns of public and even of parliament about the same and have their concession renewed? that we have to watch closely.