By: Nasser Kasozi
President Yoweri Museveni recently counselled and rubbished energy minister’s Irene Muloni and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) board against sacking of its executive director Godfrey Turyahikayo until investigations into corruption in the agency are concluded.
In a letter to Muloni dated July 8, 2019, Museveni made reference to his phone conversation with the minister and observed, “this is to direct you and the board that the status quo of the management of Rural Electrification Agency should be maintained for one year so that I conclude the investigations into the massive corruption there.”
Museveni noted that he would not accept any changes at REA until investigations are concluded and that its good to allow the status quo remain to enable smooth flow of work and activities.
“My quick audit has already exposed massive theft of government resources,” the President stated.
In May, the REA board declined to renew Turyahikayo’s contract on grounds that there had been a decline in the implementation of activities of the agency for the last four years.
Last month, the chairperson of Parliament’s natural resources committee, Keefa Kiwanuka, apologised to the Speaker of Parliament after a letter he purportedly wrote to President Museveni to intervene in the matters of REA and ensure that contracts of all employees are renewed. He accused the board of worsening the already fragile situation in REA.
The Speaker accused Kiwanuka among other committee chairpersons for failing to follow decorum when it came to discussing parliamentary affairs before the President.
Museveni directs Muhakanizi to re-appoint Turyahikayo as REA’s accounting officer
The Finance Ministry permanent secretary, Keith Muhakanizi, with order from the president re-appointed Godfrey Turyahikayo as the accounting officer for the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), amid reports that he had been fired.
Turyahikayo’s contract expired last month, and there were reports that the REA board had declined to renew his contract over alleged fights in the agency.
However, following a directive from President Yoweri Museveni, Turyahikayo’s contract has since been renewed for a period of one year.
In a letter dated July 16, a copy of which New Vision has seen, Muhakanizi who is also the secretary to the treasury, said Turyahikayo has been re-appointed as the accounting officer for REA for the 2019/2020 financial year.
“In accordance with section 119 (2) of the Public Finance Management Act 2015, you are hereby appointed as the accounting officer for vote 123 – REA, with effect from July 17, for the financial year 2019/2020,” Muhakanizi’s letter reads in part.
As the accounting officer, Muhakanizi urged Turyahikayo to comply with the financial provisions of the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act 2015, Financial Regulations 2016, Treasury Instructions 2017 and Treasury Circulars issued by the finance ministry from time to time.
“You are required to submit a duly filled performance contract in line with section 45(3) of the Public Finance Management Act 2015, to facilitate release of funds to your vote. The performance contract should be prepared in the prescribed format in the Programme Budgeting System (PBS),” the letter addressed to Turyahikayo noted.
Muhakanizi asked Turyahikayo to prepare a work plan and procurement plan that clearly spell out those activities that will lead to the attainment of the budget strategy for the financial year 2019/2020 as approved by parliament and cabinet.
“The work plan and procurement plan should be the same as that approved by parliament in the ministerial policy statement. This is the basis for the formulation of the performance contracts against which you will be assessed, and the release of funds will be based on submission of clear procurement and cash flow projections for your vote,” Muhakanizi pointed out.Turyahikayo’s re-appointment comes at a time when the judiciary permanent secretary, Kagole Kivumbi, was sent on forced leave and replaced with Pius Bigirimana, who was the permanent secretary for the Gender, Labour and Social Development Ministry.
Kivumbi was sent on forced leave amid investigations by parliament’s Public Accounts Committee and the Inspector General of Government regarding suspicious expenditure in the judiciary. The development also comes after Muhakanizi threatened to sack scores of accounting officers over accountability.
Functions of REA
In an economy like ours, transforming the Energy sector involves the moving of our population from the use of traditional energy sources (e.g firewood and other basic forms of biomass) to the adoption of modern energy services (e.g electricity, petroleum fuels, bio-fuels and improved stoves)
This transformation is not easy as it involves a careful determination of which energy service or technology is appropriate for a given community, for what purpose and if it can be afforded.
In the case of REA, the transformation is supposed
to come in the form of providing electricity to rural communities. In
order to help in this endevour, REA developed a Rural Electrification
Master Plan to guide in how projects are designed and sequenced to
provide appropriate energy services. This Master Plan prioritises
projects on the basis of their value in financing the economy (economic
growth centres), social well being, education, health, water supply and
support to local administration (administration headquarters)