Godfrey Werikhe, the Deputy Executive Director REA, told the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises COSASE that by 2014, the agency owed 8 billion shillings but the figure has since accumulated to 18 billion Shillings.
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) owes Ugandans 18 billion shillings in compensation, a parliamentary committee has learnt.
Godfrey Werikhe, the Deputy Executive Director REA, told the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that by 2014, the agency owed 8 billion shillings but the figure has since accumulated to 18 billion Shillings.
Werikhe had appeared before the committee together with REA's Finance Manager Patrick Kyakulaga to answer audit queries raised by the Auditor General for the year ending June 2014.
Some of the REA projects for which compensations have not been paid include 1.1 billion under the Kayunga-Manafwa project, and 446 million under Ruhumba to Rwebishwa project. Others are 100 million under Masindi/Lira/Nakasongola project, 994 million under Mayuge to Busadha project, and 764 million under Namutumba-Kamuli project among others.
Werikhe told the committee that most of the projects are demand-driven and that they usually negotiate with the affected people who consent in order to get services.
He also noted that the funds have not been provided over the years despite a number of submissions the agency has made to the finance ministry.
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Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu, the committee chairperson said the figure had gone so high and is likely to cost the agency more money in case one of the affected people goes to court.
Katuntu appealed to REA to be fair and pay the affected people while carrying on its projects since the delayed payments don't come with interest.
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Ngora County MP David Abara, Mbarara Municipality MP Micheal Tusiime and other members demanded that REA submits a list of people who have been compensated before.
Katikamu North MP Abraham Byandala said that delays in payment of compensations are sometimes caused by delays on the side of the government valuer probably because of under-staffing.
He also noted that government funding is a problem to most externally funded projects since the funds are not provided in time.