Uganda’s $66 Million Thermal Power Plant Deal: A Bailout for Bitature or a Bad Precedent?

Ugandan Government Acquires Bitature's Thermal Power Plant for $66 Million in Bailout Deal

Lawmakers Split Over Government's $66 Million Relief Package for Debt Stricken Bitature
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The Ugandan Cabinet of Ministers has reportedly approved a deal for the government to acquire a thermal power plant owned by Electromaxx, a company controlled by Ugandan tycoon Patrick Bitature, for the sum of UGX 240.9 billion ($66 million).

The move is seen as a financial lifeline for Bitature, who is reportedly struggling to repay a $35 million debt he owes to the South African-based Vantage Mezzanine Fund II.

Electromaxx is the first indigenous privately-owned power generating company in Uganda. It operates a thermal power plant with an installed capacity of 90 MW in Tororo, close to the Kenyan border.

The power generated is sold to the national grid under a Power Purchase Agreement.

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Should this agreement gain parliamentary approval, it could offset Bitature’s looming monetary concerns. However, the decision to acquire the plant seemingly sidesteps Auditor General (AG) John Muwanga’s recommendations.

Muwanga has in the recent past, highlighted concerns over Electromaxx’s escalating debts, ongoing legal conflicts, and land disputes that might impede the smooth transfer of the plant’s assets. Despite these red flags, the government appears inclined to back Bitature.

Bitature’s financial strain, largely attributed to the unrecovered $35 million from M/s Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership, intensified following unsuccessful legal appeals in Ugandan courts. An arbitration court in London further exacerbated matters, ruling against Bitature.

Bitature’s financial troubles trace back to his endeavors to liquidate his debts, primarily through the sale of the Electromaxx Thermal Power Plant. However, Vantage Capital’s rising demands, which surged from an initial $10 million to an outstanding $35 million, coupled with the adverse court verdicts, have further strained his financial stability.

While Bitature’s prospects seem to be improving, courtesy of his influential ties with Minister Anite, the broader implications of this deal remain under scrutiny. As developments continue to unfold, lingering questions remain regarding the underlying terms of this transaction and Electromaxx’s commitment to delivering on its obligations. Further insights into the agreement’s specifics are eagerly anticipated.

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