Members of Parliament on the Committee on National Economy have rejected a loan request from the Ministry of Finance where the government wants to borrow 100 million US dollars from the International Development Association (IDA) to finance the power grid expansion in northern Uganda.
The legislators accuse the Ministry of Finance for not following up on number of loans that have been approved and cleared by Parliament.
MPs who included that for Bugabula South, Maurice Kibalya, that for Mukono South, Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga and for Buikwe North, Paul Musoke. Others is that for Gomba East County, Kalule Sengo and the Amuria district Woman MP, Suzan Amero, who on her part said that they could not approve this loan when there are some past loans stretching from 2009 which have never been utilized up to 60%.
The Committee that is Chaired by the Nakaseke North MP, Syda Bumba, also noted that there is a loan request approved in 2013 which has never been utilized and that it is still at 0% and they hence resolved not to pass the 100 million dollar Grid expansion until the ministry of finance gives a detailed report to Parliament over loans performance and reasons under what circumstances loans are not utilized.
Kalule Sengo, the Gomba East MP on his part said that whereas many loans were approved since 2006 for power extension to different areas including Gomba but that in his area poles were planted but that there has never been no power.
The Opposition shadow minister for works who is the for Busongola East, Willian Nzoughu, said that the country is in a financial crisis and that is the reason to why its pressing hard for Parliament to approve loans which some MPs also said are fed up with.
Bumba concured with committee members while interfacing with ministry of finance officials led by the Minister of State for Investment, Gabdriel Ajedra, together with officials from the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL)to write to the Speaker of Parliament expressing the committee’s difficulty in passing this loan request.
She said that they want the Speaker will then write to the Prime Minister over the non-performing loans but expressed disappointment over the Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni, whom she said has always dodged the committee summons whenever she is called to defend her sector loans.
Ajedra, however, after facing bitterness of the MPs pleaded with the committee members to approve this loan saying this will enable the UETCL to provide power to the grid so that it can be supplied to the intended areas and enable the cost of power tariffs go down.
He also defended Muloni’s absence from the committee meetings whenever she is summoned saying that it was agreed that the Ministry of Finance would respond to all matter related to finance including those in her ministry.