The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Eng. Irene Muloni has said government is in the last stages of approving an electricity free connection policy in major local areas all over the country as a way of improving electrification rates in the country.
Muloni said that government had realised that despite extending transmission poles to major rural areas in the country, majority of Ugandans were not connecting the electricity to their homes mainly because they didn’t have a connection fee.
“Despite all our efforts, electrification in Uganda is only at 22% which is very low. This is worrying for the ministry and the government. If we are to realise industrialisation and adding value to our goods, more areas and more Ugandans must be able to access electricity that is reliable and affordable,” Muloni said.
She further noted that Uganda is producing excess electricity that is not being fully utilised hence the challenges with high cost rates for electricity currently.
“Uganda is currently producing 950 megawatts; we expect this to be doubled to 2000 in 2 years. So production is currently not an issue in Uganda. However, this has not solved the issue of limited domestic use of electricity,” Muloni said.
As a solution to that issue, the minister said government through the ministry of finance is securing a loan of about $200m to enable government extend electricity to more local areas.
Currently the government has connected all district headquarters to electrify apart from four which will also, according to the minister, be connected soon.
This program will be extended to all sub-country headquarters and later to villages.
“For all areas that we will extend electricity too, they will be free connection to homesteads. The owner will only be charged money for wiring. We are also putting in place technology the will ensure that the wiring is done at an affordable price,” Muloni said.
She was speaking at an agreement signing ceremony that took place at the ministry of Finance between the government of Japan and Uganda to finance major projects.
One of the projects to be financed under the ministry of Energy is the Kampala Metropolitan Transmission System Improvement project.
The government of Uganda has received $46.4m from Japan under the Japan international cooperation agency (JICA).
The project aims at stabilizing and improving reliability of the power supply in the greater Kampala areas by constructing two new 220KV substations, upgrade three existing 132 kilovolt substations and strengthen the urban electricity transmission grid and provide a mobile substation for emergency response.
Commenting on the project, Muloni thanked the government of Japan for financing the project saying that once it is completed; power outage will become a non-issue in Kampala.
“The construction of the three substation and associated transmission lines coupled with upgrade of three more stations under the new project will not only help Uganda to grow demand to optimally absorb her generation but also create a strong network to deliver reliable power to load centers. Definitely this will propel social economic growth of the country,” Muloni said.
According to Fukase Yutaka, the JICA chief Representative, the project once completed will increase the economic output of the greater Kampala through stable and reliable electricity.
“JICA’s loan financing to this project is in line with Japan’s support of infrastructure towards social and economic development of Uganda,” Yutaka said.