Uganda sees energy as a key priority area in roadmap for the attainment of a Middle Income Status, in line with the 2nd National Development Plan (NDPII) and Uganda Vision 2040 targets, State Minister for Energy Simon D’Ujanga has said.
“Aware of electricity’s critical role in the socio-economic development of its people, Uganda, through a loan from the Chinese government is almost finishing the construction of two dams, a 600 Mega-watt (MW) run of the river Hydro power dam at Karuma falls and the 180MW Isimba hydro power dam, both on the Nile river. Others in line of development include Ayago (800MW) Muzizi (44.7MW) and Nyagak III (5.5MW).
Speaking at the closure of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited’s executive echange on hydropower operations and maintenance and asset management on Friday in Kampala, Hon. D’Ujanga stated that benefits of electricity are not only for the current times but for future generation.
“Some foreign company came to my office and asked if the ministry is going to give a concession for running of Karuma and Isimba and I told them we already have a committed agency in UEGCL,” D’Ujanga said.
According to Simon Kasyate, the UEGCL manager corporate affairs, the one-week capacity building program for staff was implemented in partnership with USAID, the United States Energy Association (USEA), the apex body for U.S public and private energy organisations, Kampala based Power Africa and Chelan County PUD and aimed at enhancing the UEGCL staff skills as part of a plan to ensure the country is able to independently manage the new power dams that are being constructed in the country.
He said Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has been encouraging UEGCL to keep training own engineers to operate new and already existing power dams.
“We have addressed and have continued to address the question of adequate generation capacity, and the next stage is for us to efficiently manage the generation facilities under our jurisdiction,” D’Ujanga said.
“The training program you held is a sign that we are soon finishing Karuma and Isimba projects and now I am happy to see that this training has been conducted for young people who are going to carry on the maintenance of our plants and see that our assets are well managed so that they generate for generations,” D’Ujanga said.
He noted that Ugandans look forward to experiencing the young UEGCL engineers using the skills obtained
The Chief Executive Officer of UEGCL, Dr. Eng. Harrison Mutikanga previously revealed ‘there are no competent people to run the dams’ and most of the engineers that Uganda trained during the 1950s and 60s to run Nalubaale hydro power dam have retired and thus the need to replace them.
“Therefore, this event marks a major milestone in the collaboration between the US Government and UEGCL and will entail a number of capacity building activities aimed at enhancing the operations of the hydropower facilities under the auspices of UEGCL,” said Dr. Eng. Mutikanga.
As contained in its five-year strategic plan running from 2018 to 2023, UEGCL is to increase its power generation capacity from 380 megawatts to 1,300 megawatts.