KAYUNGA – President Yoweri Museveni has commissioned the 183 Megawatt Isimba hydropower plant in Kayunga District and strongly hailed the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the support extended to Uganda towards the development of the power plant.
He said that the financial and technical support that Uganda has received from the Chinese people and Government during the building of the power plant and many other development projects in the country goes a long way to distinguish China as a reliable development partner of Uganda in particular and the African continent as a whole.
Speaking after switching on the plant at Nampanyi village in Busana Sub-County in Ntenjeru North County, Kayunga District, President Museveni further commended the Government of China for extending to the Government of Uganda a concessional loan of US$481 million through Exim Bank of China towards the construction of the power dam. The Exim Bank loan funded 80% of the construction works while the Government of Uganda funded 15% of the project cost.
China International Water and Electricity Corporation (CWE) undertook the construction works and completed in 47 months. The plant is the 3rd largest power plant in the country that has helped to increase power generation in Uganda to 1167 Megawatts up from 984 Megawatts.
Mr. Museveni commended the positive gesture by China of availing soft and non-conditional development loans to Uganda that have enabled the country handle several projects such as the Isimba and Karuma power plants, the Kampala-Entebbe Express Highway and the expansion of Entebbe International Airport, among others. He used the occasion to remind Ugandans that the government was not able to undertake all development programmes at the same time due to resource constraints. He informed the country that the National Resistance Movement works through the model of prioritisation of development programmes in order of the importance of the projects.
He said after guaranteeing peace in the country, introducing free education, carrying out mass immunisation and investing in the health sector, the government thereafter devoted reasonable resources to the road and power sectors which have seen great improvement in the transport sector with the country having a border to border tarmac roads. He, therefore, observed that with the commissioning of Isimba power plant and many others that are still under construction, Uganda will have cheap and sufficient power that will greatly support the country’s industrialisation agenda.
The President said that as the country is now getting enough electricity, the remaining challenge was the building of the standard gauge railway and availing cheap credit to crucial sectors of the economy. He revealed that it will be realized by the re-capitalization of the Uganda Development Bank. He, therefore, appealed to Ugandans to make good use of the development infrastructure that government has been in place by the Movement Government and work to get rid of household poverty that still remains the main challenge facing the country.
He also cautioned officials that delay or even block development projects and programs by demanding dubious land compensation noting that their actions are unpatriotic and against development.
Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Hon. Irene Muloni said that the electricity that is generated from Isimba plant will be sold at 4.16 US Cents per unit making it the cheapest in the country today. She added that this rate will run for the first 15 years after which it will reduce to 4 US Cents.
The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Zheng ZhuQiang, revealed that China holds Uganda high as its development partner, the more reason that China continues to fund and support several development projects in the country. He expressed concern at the calculated negative publicity aimed at tarnishing the image of China and Chinese companies with regard to the nature of Chinese fiscal loans and employment policies of the local labour force.
He reported during the construction of Isimba power dam, the Chinese Company employed 3000 Ugandans who constituted 85% of the total labour force, on top of training many Ugandans and equipping them with the skills to run the plant on their own. He added that 70% of the construction materials for the plant were locally procured.