In a bid to widen access to hydro electricity power, government plans to extend electricity distribution to all sub- counties in the country that have not been on the grid, the Minister of Energy, Eng Irene Muloni has said.
The rural electrification project is aimed at reducing the costs that homesteads incur in getting connected to the grid which has been among the key bottlenecks in accessing power.
Currently, only 22% of Uganda’s population have access to electricity but the bulk of this population is situated in urban areas.
Minister Muloni told journalists on Thursday that government has acquired a USD 200 million (Shs 743 billion) loan from China Exim Bank to fund the rural electrification process that will extend electricity infrastructure to the sub county level. Households will get free connections by the end of June this year, she said.
Currently there are 1,608 sub-counties in Uganda, out of which 1,014 are electrified and 594 are not electrified.
Works to connect electricity to the remaining 243 sub-counties is in progress while other works to connect the remaining 351 sub-counties are soon to commence.
Eng Muloni was accompanied by other top officials in the respective agencies in the energy sector to account to the public on the progress of implementing Manifesto targets.
In the area of hydropower, she mentioned that the construction of the Karuma and Isimba hydro power dams is on track which will add a total capacity of 783 Megawatts to the 950 Megawatts currently being generated. She said that government anticipates that this capacity will have doubled to 2,000MW in the coming two years to spur economic growth.
“Progress of Karuma dam is currently at 75% while Isimba is at 80%. Isimba will be commissioned by the end of this year. Our plan is to generate electricity to exceed our demand,” Minister Muloni said.
“Only 22% of Ugandans have access which means that there is potential demand”.
Government is also developing other smaller hydro power projects like Kiba, Uhuru, Ayago, Oriang, Acwa, Nyagak III and Muzizi which combined will generate over 1,900 Megawatts of electricity.
She further stated that government is also making efforts to ensure that as the generation capacity is boosted, the cost of electricity is also lowered to make it affordable especially for the manufacturers.
“In the Manifesto, the President gave us a target of lowering the cost of power from Bujagali from 11 US cents to 6 US cents. We have been engaging potential funders on the refinancing of Bujagali and we are almost at the tail end of the process,” she said.
This intervention, along with tax waivers is expected to bring the cost down to 8 US cents.
Construction is on-going for transmission lines for Bujagali -Tororo 220kV, 127km line (85% complete), Mbarara – Mirama 220kV, 66km line (97%), Tororo – Opuyo – Lira 132kV, 260km line (86%), Mbarara – Nkenda 132kV, 160km line (86%) and Kawanda – Masaka 220kV, 137km line (96%) among others.
In the Petroleum sector, Muloni said that all the activities along the entire petroleum value chain to put in place the required infrastructure for resource exploitation and value addition are on course to have the first commercial oil in 2020.
She noted that currently, production licenses for the oil investors have already been issued as government moves to commence the construction of the oil pipeline.
In line with establishing the Oil Refinery, up to 98.3% of the persons supposed to be compensated for the land required have been cleared. She dispelled claims that Uganda got a raw deal in its agreements with the oil companies, saying that Uganda will have 70% of the oil.
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