Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee (Central) are irked by the power outages in West Nile that have adversely affected the smooth running of Muni University in Arua City.
According to Emmanuel Banya, Muni University Secretary, the science-based university is not connected to the national grid and draws its power from the Nyagak Power Plant and Electromax which have been under public scrutiny for intermittent power supply.
As a result, Banya said, the outages have forced the university to resort to solar power and a 1,500 KV diesel-powered generator which is extremely expensive to run a university.
“On average, we spend 8litres of diesel per hour, meaning that on one full day of no power, we spend 192 liters, which translates to about Shs1.1m,” Banya said.
Banya and other officials from Muni University were appearing before the PAC on Tuesday, 27 September 2022 to answer queries from the Auditor General’s Report in the Financial Year 2020/2021.
He said that some laboratory equipment like Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Machine, and high capacity fridge for preserving laboratory equipment have been out of regular use due to power shortages.
Banya said it is a result of a rampant power blackout that forced the university to acquire the generator to extend better electricity supply in the multipurpose health science laboratory to make this equipment functional.
“Annually, we have been budgeting at a range of about Shs30m. Eventually, this money has become less and less and cannot sustain the generator for the entire year,” he said.
PAC Chairperson, Medard Sseggona, wondered why Government established Muni University without consideration of the source of power and proposed that the university be liquidated.
“It is expensive to continue running a university on a generator, but it goes back to planning, how could we establish a science-based university which does not access electricity? Maybe we should liquidate and wind up this university and take it elsewhere,” Sseggona said.