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ERA warns landlords hiking tenants’ electricity charges

  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda
  • PSFU NEWS

Kampala- Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has warned landlords of commercial buildings in Kampala to stop charging tenants electricity prices that are outside the gazetted rates. 
The warning comes on the back of raising concerns pointing to landlords charging tenants outside official tariff guidelines.

In a notice published yesterday, ERA said it had received multiple complaints from stakeholders decrying a hike in electricity charges in commercial buildings.

“ERA [has been receiving] complaints from tenants in commercial buildings, markets and the civil society in Kampala... relating to electricity charges beyond those approved by ERA,” the notice reads in part, warning that this was against the law and those “found engaging in any practice that is inconsistent shall be criminally prosecuted”.

The practice, ERA said, is mostly found among the bulk metering system customers, some of who continue to act outside regulations of electricity distribution licensees.

The notice said, a landlord who is bulk metered and later redistributes to other tenants should charge identical tariffs as would have been charged by an electricity distributor such as Umeme. 
“Unit owners or tenants are supposed to pay based on their actual power consumption as displayed by their sub metres,” the notice said. 
Mr Julius Wandera, the ERA manager consumer and public affairs, confirmed the warning, noting that they had advised landlords to install Yaka metres in each stalls or shops for the consumers to manage their payments.

Ms Florence Nsubuga, the Umeme chief operations officer, yesterday told Daily Monitor they were aware of the practice and have previously engaged some landlords.

For instance, she said, they had encountered resistance from particularly two landlords - who she could not name - but said they continue to insist on overcharging tenants.

ERA’s approved charges for commercial tariffs where arcades and shopping malls fall is Shs686.1.

The warning follows a revelation by Mr Isa Sekito, the Kampala City Traders Association spokesperson, who, during a public hearing organised by ERA, said some landlords in Downtown Kampala charge tenants as high as Shs1,000 per unit.

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Skills Development Facility supports over 100 firms

  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda
  • PSFU NEWS

Up to 100 companies have been able to take their staff through short-term trainings using funds that the World Bank channeled to the Private Sector Foundation Uganda.

“We have worked with over 100 companies, informal sector, community-based organizations, while over 1,000 internship places have been offered. This year, we are also planning for 1,000,” Ruth Musoke Biyinzika, the skills facility manager at PSFU, said. She pointed out that more than 50,000 lives have been touched in 70 districts since the project started two years ago.

The World Bank supported the PSFU with $18 million with an aim of delivering short-term trainings for workers in the formal and informal sectors. One of the beneficiaries from the training is Joshua Sendawula’s company Electrical Controls and Switch Gear, which has always wanted to expand their business. 

“Our main work was to manufacture switch gears. But when we got some money and wanted to expand, there were no skilled personnel. So, we had to get people from China, Turkey and India,” he explained.

According to Sendawula, flying in these expatriates was very expensive, something that forced the company to put the project on hold. And yet, companies such as Umeme, the electricity utility company, was looking for such supplies from the local market.

It was not until 2017 that Electrical Controls and Switch Gear approached PSFU for support.

“We were able to get $35,000 for training and consultancy; three staff were trained as sheet tank designers, five doing the real wiring of the transformers. Right now we can make 33KV, 11KVA and 25KVA transformers,” Sendawula said.

According to Gideon Badagawa, the executive director at PSFU, the biggest challenge faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is in Uganda is the lack of skilled human resource.

“We want our entrepreneurs to enter the market and remain there. That’s when we speak of skills,” he said.

Private Sector One Dollar HIV & AIDS Initiative

  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda
  • PSFU NEWS

 

The One Dollar HIV & AIDS Initiative Uganda (ODI) is a private sector led innovative mechanism aimed at raising domestic resources to support HIV & AIDS national response. HIV & AIDS does not only affect consumption and profitability of business but also destabilizes the overall business environment in the Country.

ODI’s purpose therefore is to engage the private sector to create an endowment fund to support treatment and to stop the flow of new infections. 

The ODI clearly aligns with the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act (2014) which emphasizes the value of multi-sector collaboration and increased domestic investment in health as one of the ways that will ensure its sustainable control.

The walk/run kicked off from City Square, Kampala to UMA Show grounds and it was under the theme ‘Until it’s over’. 

Mr. Patrick Bitature said, “This is not a tax but a moral obligation for every Ugandan to make a commitment by contributing at least one dollar (Shs 4,000) and this can be done once a year, every month, every week or every day.” 

The Chairperson, One Dollar Initiative, Vinand Nantulya said that the campaign is aimed at building an endowment fund worth US$ 1 billion over a period of 5 years which when invested through banks in form of treasury bills and bonds should give at least 10 percent interest. 

We encourage members of the Private Sector to donate generously to this cause. Find out how to donate from PSFU offices

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a comprehensive, ambitious, transformation and universal agenda, which has started to be implemented since 2015. Recognizing the complexity of the agenda, the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa (June 2015), preserved a comprehensive approach to financing development-appreciating the role that various players can play, including the private sector in achieving the SDGs. The Government of Uganda is aware that effectively implementing Agenda calls for more inclusive development cooperation involving all stakeholders.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation(GPEDC), a partnership of multi-stakeholders- gov-ernment, private sector, civil society, international organizations and donors and others, encourages effective de-velopment cooperation in support of sustainable development. GPEDC, as one aspect of its work stream gathers evidence on how private sector engagement through development cooperate – financial and otherwise. PSE through development co-operation is defined as: An activity that aims to engage the private sector for development results, which involve the active participation of the private sector.

The validation workshop hosted at Imperial Royale hotel, Kampala championed by UNDP shared the findings of the report to all stakeholders with the view to refine the findings and recommendations. In addition, the organisers of the workshop aimed at creating a platform for discussion to examine the most pressing concerns for private sector engagement in Uganda and discuss the so-lutions multi-stakeholders can recommend.

Find the report here >> Case for Uganda

Hon. Matia Kasaija, Finance Minister last week launched a four year National Strategy to increase private sector competitiveness, in order to raise its contribution to economic development. 

The National Strategy for Private Sector Development 2018/2022 will help deepen the engagement between government and the private sector in order to realize the country’s development plan. 

The strategy will use sector based benchmarks and service delivery indicators to measure its implementation performance.

“In order to realize meaningful development; public and private sectors must talk to each other to inform policy and development.” Said Mr. Gideon Badagawa, Executive Director, PSFU