The parliamentary committee on national economy on Thursday received a proposal by government to borrow up to US $ 212,669,840.08m from the Export import bank of China for the project on Accelerated Rural Electrification programme.
The project among others is expected to guarantee electrification and generation of electricity for all sub counties and newly created districts approximately 200 districts
The programme is estimated to increase electricity access by 30% by 2026. It also seeks to promote the use sustainable energy access and use of clean environmentally friendly energy.
The committee demanded that the Ministry for energy updates and verifies the new sub counties and their exact number. The committee members insist that the Minister do thorough investigation and validation on the exact project areas
The committee also demanded that they first go to the field and verify the information and state of these areas. The committee members would like to do due diligence before they commit to support the loan
At the end, committee member agreed that their relationship with Rural Electrification Agency has not been bad. They acknowledge that the contractors are ready, terms of the contract drawn, they may need to expedite the process
However, the committee upheld a majority decision not to rush approval of the loan. The members on the committee said they would wish to first hold the Rural Electrification Agency accountable for the previous loan approved.
Over 25 million Ugandans lack access to electricity. The low access to electricity slows down growth and exerts pressure on the environment such as forests which are cut down for fire wood.
According to Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Executive Director, Godfrey Turyahikayo, a 10-year Rural Electrification Strategy and Plan for 2013-2022 (RESP 2013-2022) had projected that about 1.3 million households will be connected to the main grid by 2022. This translates into about 130,000 connections per year and, therefore, 650,000 over a 5-year period.
Uganda currently has 862 MW of installed electricity generation capacity.
To attain middle-income status by 2020, the NDP II has set targets for electricity access at 30 per cent and average consumption at 578 kWh per capita.
Currently, there are two large hydropower plants under construction that will be commissioned before 2020, that is, the 600 MW Karuma Project and the I83 MW Isimba project.