The Government of Uganda have fired all the staff of Rural Electrification Agency (REA), The Capital Times have learnt.
This follows a notification from the Ministry of Energy that their contracts which end in October will not be renewed.
Energy minister Ruth Nankabirwa says the cabinet has already approved the structure of REA, as a department in the sector. She added that the workers who were employed on contracts will be absorbed in the ministry.
Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is a semi-autonomous body established by an Act of Parliament, to operationalize Government’s rural electrification function. It functions as a secretariat of the Rural Electrification Board (REB) which carries out the rural electrification responsibilities, as defined in the Electricity Act of 1999.
Rural Electrification Agency (REA) was established as a statutory instrument in 2001 (no. 75), but started its functions in July 2003.
Earlier this year, Government moved to merge three electricity agencies to create a national power utility company that will generate, transmit and distribute electricity across the country.
Legislators on the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources asked the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development for a comprehensive study justifying the government’s move to merge and streamline electricity agencies.
This demand was made when the committee was meeting officials from the ministry to consider the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
The Bill among others, intended to see the country’s generation and transmission companies merged into one public limited company and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) streamlined into the ministry.
MPs, however, were hesitant to support the proposal challenging the ministry’s competency to manage the agencies when they are merged and streamlined.
The Permanent Secretary, Eng Irene Batebe, allayed the concerns of the MPs saying the move will help eliminate duplication and redundancies of programmes shared by sister agencies.
“The mere fact that some parishes have electricity poles standing without lines; these are the things we seek to address with streamlining the agencies,” she said.
Batebe said the inefficiencies that existed especially in REA informed the decision to absorb it and make it a department in the ministry to help with better oversight.
She added that a study was conducted into the viability of merging and streamlining the electricity agencies.
“We are however, preparing to undertake a comprehensive assessment on the new direction of the electricity agency merger. The intention is to harmonise all these sub-sectors to operate efficiently,” said the Permanent Secretary.
Eng. Batebe stated that Uganda Electricity Generation Company, Uganda Electricity Transmission Company and Uganda Electricity Distribution Company will be merged into one public limited company. These, she said, will be operating as distinct departments within the company, aiding in supervision of their duties without interfering with each other.