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MPs Reject UGX 6.5B Defence Solar Project Budget

Legislators sitting on parliaments budget committee have declined to approve a Ministry of Defence supplementary request of 6.5 billion Shillings intended to kick-start a solar project in military installations.

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Legislators sitting on parliament's budget committee have declined to approve a Ministry of Defence supplementary request of 6.5 billion Shillings intended to kick-start a solar project in military installations.

While appearing before the committee chaired by Ntenjeru North MP Amos Lugoloobi on Tuesday, defence ministry permanent secretary (PS) Rosette Byengoma noted that the solar project is intended to reduce on costs of electricity in military installations.

She noted that in order to reduce on these operational costs, her ministry had explored the use of solar power and that the pilot project is to start with Kololo Summit View Barracks. If successful, the ministry intends to roll it out to other barracks including Bombo, the military headquarters.

Byengoma requested MPs to approve the supplementary request for the project to start.

State minister for defence Col. Charles Okello Engola defended the solar project citing the high expenditure by the ministry on electricity. According to Engola, the defence ministry spends 25 billion Shillings on electricity annually.

Byengoma emphasised the need to start the solar project.

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However, the legislators argued that the ministry failed to provide the committee with the total estimated cost for the entire project when rolled out to all military barracks. They also expressed reservations after it was revealed that the ministry had not yet accessed a feasibility study for the project. Chairperson Amos Lugoloobi noted that the project was not an emergency and could wait until all proper documentation is availed.    

MP Lugoloobi noted that the required 6.5 billion Shillings for a pilot project is costly, advising the defence officials to mainstream the solar project into the ministry budget. He noted that the request does not meet the requirements of a supplementary expenditure.

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Kachumbala County MP Patrick Isiagi demanded that the defence ministry avails the committee with a comprehensive analysis of the project so that a decision is made basing on available information.

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Speaking to Uganda Radio Network – URN, the state minister for planning David Bahati said that the 6.5 billion supplementary request was accepted on the basis of a request from the ministry of defence.

However like Byengoma, Bahati could not avail details concerning the project.

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