The Budget Committee of Parliament has initiated the scrutiny of a Sh3.5 trillion supplementary budget allocated for financing essential infrastructure projects in the Financial Year 2022/2023.
Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State for Finance, presented the supplementary budget framework paper to the Committee, highlighting that a significant portion, amounting to 318 billion, is earmarked for the Electricity Access Scale-Up Project (EASP) under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
The Minister of State for Energy, Sidronious Okasaai Opolot, disclosed that among the allocations sought, 128 billion is designated to connect 200,000 households nationwide within the current financial year. Operational since July 2023, the EASP requires additional funding for various activities. The supplementary request also includes 30 billion for startup costs related to the Karuma Hydro Power Plant, covering aspects such as insurance, permits, service contracts, and specialized tools.
In an interview with URN, Okaasai stated that part of the supplementary budget, 58 billion, will address shortfalls in contractual obligations for deemed energy under the Lira-Agago transmission line for the Achwa-Agago Dam.
The supplementary budget encompasses allocations of 197 billion for road construction, 47 billion for the deployment of medical interns and their allowances, and 37 billion for ongoing renovation work at Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo in preparation for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of G77 (G77) Summits scheduled for January 2023.
During discussions, Wilfred Niwagaba, the Ndorwa County East Member of Parliament, emphasized the Ministry’s responsibility to deliver on its mandate, citing power unavailability in his constituency, which is a source of power generation.
Dicksons Kateshumbwa, the Budget Committee Chairperson and Sheema Municipality legislator, expressed concern over substantial expenditures on deemed energy and urged the Ministry to use the supplementary budget to enhance energy efficiency.
The Committee requested the Ministry to share the roadmap for the implementation of the 200,000 connections across the country. According to Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) statistics from 2022, only 1.7 million households are connected to the national electricity grid.
With funding from the World Bank, the government is implementing a five-year Electricity Access Scale-up Project to increase access to electricity in various sectors, aligning with Uganda’s Vision 2040, the National Development Plan (NDP) III, and Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) to achieve universal energy access by 2030.
In May 2023, Parliament passed the 2023/2024 National Budget, increased from UGX 48.13 trillion for FY 2022/23 to UGX 52.7 trillion for FY 2023/24, representing a 9.5% increase from the previous financial year.