KAMPALA-The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has donated solar equipment to Arua Regional Referral Hospital in a bid to support the hospital deal with the rampant electricity shortages in the region.
The Speaker, who was disheartened to learn that mothers have been dying at the hospital due to power shortages pledged to uplift the maternity ward with solar.
“My office will install power in the Arua Regional Hospital especially in the maternity ward to help the doctors carry on with their work smoothly. We really cannot afford to have hospitals without electricity,” she said.
Among urged the Ministry of Energy to urgently intervene in the crisis saying that government was not realizing value for money from the projects.
“I see no value for money from the two service providers tasked to generate and distribute electricity in West Nile. I want to see all stakeholders working tirelessly to resolve this issue once and for all. Electro Maxx and WENRECO must fulfil its contract obligations to the people of West Nile”, Among added.
She questioned how the stakeholders were embroiled in a blame game, especially the power generators and distributors who she said are using the lack of fuel as a reason for the poor service delivery.
She condemned their incompetence and charged them to ensure that the existing generators are functioning.
The Speaker made her donation while meeting the Citizens Action for improved Service delivery, a group of petitioners from West Nile led by Caleb Alaka.
The meeting held on Tuesday, 09 August 2022 in the Speaker’ Boardroom was also attended by the West Nile Parliamentary Group, officials from the Ministry of Energy, power generating company ElectroMaxx and distributor WENRECO.
During the meeting, the petitioners tasked West Nile Rural Electrification company (WENRECCO) AND ElectroMaxx to expedite the process of connecting West Nile to the national grid and effectively provide affordable and reliable power.
This they argue would not only reduce the unnecessary loss of lives at Arua Regional Referral Hospital and due to insecurity, but it would also reduce poverty, accelerate industrial growth and uplift the burden that the youth are exerting on the environment due to idleness.
“We decided to support this government and overwhelming voted for it but it seems someone wants to sabotage our support. West Nile has never had reliable power. We have had energy poverty and endured suffering like we are not part of Uganda,” Alaka said.
Alaka described the situation in West Nile as dire and called for an urgent intervention by government noting the eminent decline in trade locally and regionally.
The Minister of State for Energy, Hon. Sidronius Okaasai assured the Speaker that the ministry was working round the clock to deliver power to West Nile.
“The solution is bulk delivery of power to West Nile. In fact, West Nile is one of the most prioritized regions in Uganda; they have a lot of power demand and this is why we thought that they should have their own power generator”, he said.
He explained that there were issues with two turbines which he said are not able to operate at ago because of little water.
“Another turbine got spoilt and was flown to Nairobi and has just been returned. It is now operating fully,” he added.
The general manager for WENRECO, Kenneth Kigumba said that they have fulfilled their mandate of generating 3.5 megawatts from Nyagak.
The MPs and petitioners however, protested insisting that WENRECO only generates 1.7 megawatts.
Uganda adopted a robust industrialization policy in 2008 and underpinned industrial development as an integral part of government’s development strategy through creation of industrial parks.
To address the acute shortage of power in the region, a concession for the generation, distribution and sales of electricity in the west Nile was awarded to the West Nile Rural Electrification company (WENRECO) in 2003 for a period of 20 years.