Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government has through the Rural Electrification Agency-REA made over 92,500 electricity connections across the country, according to the Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Eng. Irene Muloni.
She was updating the country on the promises made by the National Resistance Movement-NRM in its 2016-2021 election manifestos in regards to the Energy and Mineral sector. In 2016, NRM promised to extend electricity to every each Sub county in the country by 2021.
Muloni says 590 sub counties are pending connection. According to the 2018 Local Council election, Uganda has over 1671 sub counties indicating that over 1,081 sub counties have been connected. Information obtained from the REA website indicates that over 109 districts have been electrified.
Those yet to be connected include Buvuma, Kotido and Kabong districts. The target by the NRM government is to make at least 300,000 connections annually.
In 2018, government embarked on implementing the Electricity Connection Policy that among others seeks to increase electricity access from the current 28% and also grow demand. Under this policy, government fully subsidizes the cost of electricity connection materials to enable Ugandans who are ready for electricity consumption to access free electricity connection.
The initiative seeks to realize growth in access to electricity by 30% by the end of 2020 and over 60% in 2026. The ultimate goal is to have 100% power coverage by 2040. Government acquired a loan of US$212m (Shs811b) in 2018 from Exim Bank of China to extend electricity to sub-counties to improve electricity access.
Muloni says over 40 local companies shall be sub contracted by end of May 2019 to be able to provide the services alongside the current contractor working with REA.
Muloni says subcontracting more companies shall reduce the current work load on the firms executing the project, adding that there is need for Uganda to increase its power consumption because of the country produces more electricity than it consumes.
Currently Uganda produces over 1200 megawatts but only uses 650 megawatts of power. Some of the power is used by production companies, others sold to distribution companies and part of the excess sold to neighboring countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo