By Solomon Hamala
Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Energy to reduce Electricity tariffs following increased outcry from members of the public.
This was revealed by the State Minister for Agriculture, Bwino Kyakulaga today 19th November while addressing farmer groups at the Iganga district headquarters.
Kyakulaga said the decision was taken during a recent cabinet meeting after discovering that majority of small scale industries had reduced productivity as a result of high electricity tariff charges.
“Most of the firms have abandoned business just because of the huge costs incurred towards clearing electricity bills,” he said.
He said most of the value addition projects under the Agricultural Cluster Development Program (ACDP) can no longer clear wages of their employees besides or clear any other expenses due to the high electricity bills.
“Almost 95 percent of the profits realized in these projects are used to clear electricity bills yet they could be used to set up some development activities,” he said.
Kyakulaga said the Minister of Energy had been tasked to brief cabinet next Monday about the measures that had been taken to reduce on electricity tariffs.
He however appealed to owners of factories, maize mills always to operate between midnight and 6 a.m in order to reduce on electricity tariffs charges.
“At that time of the day charges are very minimal compared to those of peak hours,” he said.
Kyakulaga who is on a tour of all districts benefiting from the ACDP said majority of farmers had embraced the cost sharing system but had been let down by the relevant ministry of agriculture officials who failed to enroll them onto the e–voucher system.
“Most of the farmers paid their money to acquire inputs but have been let down by the ministry,” he said.
He said government was negotiating with the World Bank to ensure an extension of the ACDP for another five year period.
The District Production Officer Iganga, Doctor Stephen Kakaire said 11800 farmers enrolled for the ACDP program instead of the anticipated 9000.
“Many were still coming but were turned away,” he said.
Kakaire said farmers’ contribution amounted to shillings 3.7 billion last year as compared to government funding of shillings 5.7 billion.
He said a total of 3000 farmers failed to be registered on the e voucher system in the district thus failed to receive inputs after submitting in their particulars at a later stage of the planting season.
The District Engineer Iganga, Wilberforce Mbatya said there are 125.4 kilometer of road chokes that had not been budgeted for used for transporting produce that urgently need immediate attention in order to increase on food productivity.