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    Ministry seeks $600m to connect Ugandans to power grid


    August 1, 2022 - The Daily Monitor

     

      Plans to seek Cabinet approval to secure $600m (about Shs2.305trillion) loan from the World Bank to fund the Electricity Scale-up Project are underway, the Energy ministry has said.

      While commissioning a Shs1 billion classroom and staff quarters blocks at Purongo PS in Purongo Sub-county, Nwoya District on Wednesday, the Energy minister, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa, said the loan papers would be presented before Cabinet for approval after the World Bank okayed granting the government the loan request.

      'We have the Electricity Scale-up Project which is going to be funded by the World Bank. The loan has been passed through the necessary preliminary requirements and the Ministry of Finance is now going to table that paper before Cabinet anytime, it is a loan of$600 million,' she said.

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      'We do have the (surplus) power to connect more Ugandans to the grid that is why we need money in the distribution to buy poles, conductors, transformers, metres, among other requirements and carry out this scale up to ensure the social and economic transformation of this country,' the minister added.

      The project was built by Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd under its Community Development Action Plan (CDAP).

      Whereas initially, the ministry asked the World Bank for $400 million, Ms Nankabirwa said they later negotiated to increase the loan to $600 million due to the high demand for electricity.

      'The ministry needs money to connect at least 200,000 connections a year but millions of people need power while the generation is increasing output,' she said.

      Uganda's current electricity installed capacity is 1,378.1MW. Whereas the available power is 900MW, the country consumes only 800MW.

      Power densification

      The Energy ministry has also embarked on electricity densification to boost power supply by replacing all the overwhelmed transformers and electricity boosters to ensure stable power supply across the country.

      'We intend to do densification because by the time we built and connected those lines, there were fewer homesteads, factories, hospitals, schools and other investments but right now, more of these infrastructures have come up and have overwhelmed the existing electricity structures,' Ms Nankabirwa said. She added: 'Our plan as the ministry is to make sure in every parish, we give priority to those centres for value addition.'

      About CDAP

      The Community Development Action Programme (CDAP) is a programme initiated by government to address the impact of the Karuma hydropower project on the host communities.

      The programme focuses on enhancing service delivery in health, education, water and sanitation, rural electrification, environment and agricultural extension services to ensure improved livelihood.

      On Wednesday, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa officiated the commissioning of the newly-constructed school facilities at Purongo PS built under the Karuma (600MW) Hydropower Project Community Development Action Programme (CDAP) Phase I. The Shs1 billion project contracted to Beru Construction Company Ltd included the construction of two classroom blocks with the head teacher's office, four staff houses and four stance VIP latrines at Purongo Primary School.

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