Parliament has approved a government request to borrow up to $331.5 million from the World Bank Group’s International Development Association, after which it will receive a $276.5 million grant.
The loan will fund the Electricity Access Scale Up Project (EASP), which aims to improve access to electricity nationwide.
While presenting a loan application to Parliament, Minister of State for Planning Hon. Amos Lugoloobi said the EASP plans to increase access to electricity from the current 19 percent to 44 percent by 2027.
“The project forecasts an increase in the number of connections per year from the current average of 70,000 to 300,000 connections,” says Lugoloobi.
This happened during the Tuesday 22 November 2022 Plenary Session chaired by Speaker Anita Among.
Lugoloobi added that the loan aims to increase the share of clean energy used in cooking from 15 percent to 40 percent by 2027.
He said the project will be fair as it will count disadvantaged communities among its beneficiaries. “The project will benefit households, businesses, industrial parks and public institutions. It will support refugees and host communities, as well as women,” Lugoloobi said.
He further explained that the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and Uganda Energy Credit Capitalization Company (UECCC) will be the main partners to implement the project.
The loan application met with no resistance during processing in the committee and in the plenum, which the MPs attributed to the fairness of the project.
“Usually us [the Opposition] do not refuse credit. We are only against misguided borrowing and bad credit management, but in relation to this loan, it is national in character and reflects equitable distribution. It’s good for development,” said Medard Sseggona, who represented the opposition leader in Parliament (LOP).
He welcomed the grant component as one of the terms of the loan and urged the government to formulate a debt management policy.
The report for the loan was presented by National Economy Committee Chairman John Bosco Okojo, also Bukedea County Assemblyman.
However, Sseggona, also a Busiro County East MP, rejected the suggestion that the Department of Energy lead the project, instead seeking to restore the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
“Now bring us back to this ministry that has always shied away from its responsibilities in electricity infrastructure. I wish the government could reconsider dissolving the Rural Electrification Agency. The REA has done a good job,” said Sseggona.
Spokeswoman Among, in agreement with Sseggona, called on the government to reinstate the REA, which she described as having a commendable track record.
“I would also like to agree with the LoP on the question of REA. Give us back our REA, management could have been bad but you can get different management. REA has done a good job and had good success stories,” said Among .