Energy minister launches construction of Karuma Dam employer’s facility
Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | On Oct. 27, the State Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Simon D’Ujanga, launched the construction of a Permanent Employer’s Camp at the 600MW Karuma Dam. The facility’s cost is part of the entire US$1.7 billion dam project.
This comes as the country awaits official completion and switching of the power plant in December 2018.
The dam, whose construction began in 2013, is currently at 70% completion, according to the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Electricity Generation Limited (UEGCL), Harrison Mutikanga.
“We remain optimistic that we shall complete this uphill task within schedule, budget and to the agreed quality specifications,” Mutikanga said.
The Camp shall include the office block for UEGCL’s operation and maintenance team, a laboratory, a visitor’s centre, a club house, a guest house, a canteen and staff housing among others.
This means UEGCL staff will have a permanent accommodation and also help attract new staff to work at the dam.
Proscovia Margaret Njuki, the UEGCL Board Chairperson said Karuma Dam is a project that is based in a remote area and thus the need for a modern employer’s facility to make the staff comfortable and deliver the right work for government and the Ugandan population.
The facility is being constructed in different lots by two contractors – Krishna Construction Company Limited and Seyani International Limited.
D’Ujanga said whereas the government’s main focus is to deliver electricity to the population, they had to turn to the other projects including the employer’s camp and the community development projects that would include water and sanitation, schools and health centers, roads, tourism and agriculture activities and more to boost the welfare of the nearly population.
“This is the beginning of doing the community development plan,” he said, adding that the project currently employs 5,000 people, with 50 employees expected to oversee the operations of the dam daily upon completion.
He said the facility would also help facilitate research, housing, recreation and other operational activities.
“I urge the contractor to expedite this project component in accordance to the agreed schedule,” he said.
— UEGCL (@UegclOfficial) October 27, 2017
Beyond employer’s facility
D’Ujanga said investing in theemployer’s camp demonstrates government’s conviction that energy is a key driver to economic growth and social transformation as witnessed in countries like Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea that use modern energy to drive industrialisation and service sectors.
“As such we continue to take keen interest in the progress of the project as we look forward to its successful completion and delivering power onto the national grid,” D’Ujanga said.
He revealed that the project will have three lines that would connect parts of the country and the region – Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Projects to promote trade
Speaking at the same event, the Chairman of the Project’s Steering Committee, Badru Kiggundu, who is former chairperson of The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), urged local residents to show interest in the upcoming developments in terms of supplying food and other inputs so as to improve their livelihoods and be part of the project.
“You must be ready to be a participant and not a complainant,” he told residents present during the project launch.