Drama ensued at Sheraton hotel this morning when hundreds of shareholders in Uganda’s main power distributing company Umeme Limited rejected Permanent Secretary Ministry of gender, Labour and Social Development Pius Bigirimana as a nominee for a seat on the Board.
During the voting ceremony that was closed from media, shareholders were heard shouting on top of their voices “No” and clapping in rejection at the announcement of Bigirimana’s name.
According to Umeme Chairman, Mr. Patrick Bitature, the PS’s name was forwarded by NSSF which is the largest shareholders.
“Some people opposed and I gave them a chance to give their reasons why, account was taken and a good number chose that he is not appointed. NSSF still wanted him appointed and he came as a secondment. NSSF still has a right to go to a poll, but a simple majority vote, the decision was that he is not appointed” Mr. Bitature explained.
Those elected to serve on the board during today’s meeting are; Mr. Stephen Emasu, Mr. Riccardo Ridolfi, Mr. Anthony Marsh and Mr. Andrew Buglass.
The development happened during the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), where also, a Ushs 7.6% dividend payout per ordinary share was announced to all shareholders for the year ended 31 December 2017.
The dividend was recommended by the Board of Directors during their first meeting of 2018 in Kampala earlier this month. According to Grace Semakula, the Umeme investor relations manager, the dividend will be paid into the shareholder bank accounts or mobile money accounts whose details are maintained by the Securities Central Depository.
Mr. Bitature further explained issues to do with concession and their dialogue with the president, saying that the issue of high tariffs will be discussed broadly, and that should government decide to kick them out, the next contracted company will not allow to work for free, but will also set a certain amount of money for their services, something Umeme is crucified for doing.