LoP Mpuuga opposes govt decision on REA and calls for “reconsideration of policy”
Oyam – 18, October 2021: Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is one of the government agencies to be merged with its mother ministry – the ministry of energy and mineral development. The government said the merger is a decision to save money and stop duplication of works.
Dozens of agencies and departments are to be merged with line ministries. From the time this was announced, some Ugandans came out to oppose the move, while others said it is going to save the “struggling economy”.
REA was established as a semi autonomous agency by the ministry of energy and mineral development through a statutory instrumental in 2001.
Speaking at the UMEME’s stakeholders meeting Monday in Masaka, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga said access to power by the community in rural areas should be achieved as targeted.
“Some of us have a challenge with a renewed government approach of decentralising distribution of power. You’re aware that ministry of energy took a decision to return REA under its management,” he adds.
Mpuuga says this is “a policy some of us think is going to take us back to the ineffeciency of government through bureaucracy that inhibited power circulations in the yesteryears”.
“We hope there is going to be a reconsideration of this and allow for the effeciency that comes with more rich and more usage of private players in the sector,” he told media in Masaka.
In August 2021, government said it was intending to reallocate shs729.15 billion from REA, the ministry of science, technology and innovation (now defunct) to the ministry of energy and State House, respectively.
Henery Musasizi who is the state minister for finance (general duties) said in August that the existence and vote status of REA (V-123) was revoked under statutory instrument No.29 of 2021 and its functions mainstreamed as a department into ministry of energy.
In the current financial year, government appropriated shs527.114b under under REA and shs265.945b of the ministry of science, technology and innovation now under State House.
By September 2019, there was a 16% increment in rural electricity connectivity from 1% since the agency was established in 2001.
The national connection rate stood at 28% with over 160,000 households connected as of September 2019.