Energy minister Muloni explains yaka meter saga

Energy Minister Irene Muloni has blamed the recent breakdown of Umeme system on the faulty interconnectivity within the telecom companies, a statement that angered MPs.

Muloni’s comments came after concerns raised by Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu  took to the floor during plenary demanding explanations from government on who will compensate Ugandans that have lost businesses due to the black out.

Ssewungu notes that Umeme introduced a ‘yaka’ a prepayment system that has been saving challenges associated with Umeme team visiting homes, but for the past three days, their system is down.

“For the past week, people have been in a black-out, there is no response from government even if you go to their offices, you can’t get power and I want to know, when my business collapses, because of not having power, who compensates me as we have a contract with Umeme?”

Ssewungu’s concern follows a nationwide black out complaint that has left many in darkness after they found themselves not able to purchase the tokens.

“What we are getting is that Umeme has failed to pay their service providers for the internet, when you go on the phone, MTN is doing everything but they tell you the problem is with Umeme,” added Ssewungu.

Muloni however denied reports that the system failure was emanating from the electricity company.

“I recognise the concern raised and Umeme is experiencing a technical challenge and yet it seems not to be from them, but the telecom system because of interface issues of buying units and they are working around the clock to make sure that the interface between the telecoms and Umeme is sorted out ” the Minister explained.

However, Geoffrey Macho MP (Busia Municipality) dismissed Muloni’s remarks telling Parliament that in the whole of Bukedi region in Eastern Uganda, Umeme only has one office in Tororo that is serving over 20 districts and yet currently, this particular office is nonfunctional.

Simon Oyet Shadow Energy Minister rebuked Muloni for handling the matter lightly, but deputy speaker, Jacob Oulanyah rejected the accusations saying, “I don’t believe that the honourable Minister isn’t serious, she just has a smiling face but she’s very serious.”