Kampala, Uganda – The Deputy Solicitor General Pius Biribonwoha has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 should not legislate on the merger of different electricity companies since Uganda already has an existing law governing companies.
Biribonwoha on Wednesday appeared before Parliament’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee that is currently scrutinizing the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
He told MPs that the organization replacing the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL), Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd (UEGCL), and Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (UEDCL) would be provided for under the Companies Act, 2012 and not the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
Government plans to merge and downsize several state agencies including three electricity companies. The move is intended to eliminate duplication of responsibilities and wastage of funds.
Biribonwoha said that there is no need to amend the Electricity Act to provide for the merger since the Companies Act, 2012 regulates the functions of the companies, their management, and other matters pertaining to the companies.
He added that the Public Enterprise Reform and Divestiture (PERD) Act also provides for the formation of a successor company.
Emely Kugonza, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee Vice Chairperson said they had been concerned that since the government plans to repeal the PERD Act which provides for the formation of successor companies, the Electricity Amendment Bill would handle the anticipated National Electricity Company.
However, the Deputy Solicitor General said that the current amendment to the Electricity Act cannot legislate for the merger that has not yet happened.
Biribonwoha argued that Parliament cannot legislate in anticipation since the merger has not taken place and no one knows when the PERD Act will be repealed.
Bukimbiri County MP, Eddie Kwizera also asked Biribonwoha to explain why the Electricity Act still makes reference to Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) which was dissolved 20 years ago.
John Magolo, the Bungokho County MP also wondered why UEB liquidation has taken long.
Biribonwoha said that reference to UEB would be removed once the liquidation process is completed. He added that the mandate to appoint the completion date falls under the Ministry of Finance.
The proposal to amend the Electricity Act, Cap. 145 is intended to remove inconsistencies in the law to introduce flexibility in its implementation and to streamline operations of the electricity sector.