By Ibrahim Kasita
Construction works of the proposed $556m Isimba hydropower project (183MW) is expected to start January next year.
The valuation exercise identified 2,230 persons who will be affected by the project. “Currently a technical team is in the process of sensitising the affected persons on how to use the money they will receive from the compensation,” Irene Muloni, the energy minister, said.
Individual disclosure of the compensation amount will be carried out in few weeks after which payments will be made to all consenting persons.
However, when the project starts over 3,000 new jobs will be created during the construction phase.
The kind of jobs expected are welders, joineries, carpenters, porters, project accountants, electrical and mechanical engineers, cooks, cleaners, masons and security guards.
Local residents will be able to start small businesses to serve the needs of the workers in the project. This will include supplying construction materials like aggregates, sand, high grade steel and cement.
Wang Yu, the CWE President, pledged that his firm will offer training to Ugandan engineers in civil and dam construction, hydrology and electrical engineering.
This will build their capacity to manage future projects. “This employment will bring technology transfer and related financial trickle down in the economy,” he said.
The creation of jobs, he said was “in line with in line with the Chinese government’s commitment to enhance good and fair terms of cooperation with African nations in general and Uganda in particular.”
Another bridge across the Nile
When the dam is complete, it will support a bridge which will open up both Kamuli and Kayunga districts to the rest of the country across the River Nile.
“During construction, both districts will provide labour and construction materials for the project. In addition, the local communities in both districts will be supplied with electricity,” Muloni confirmed.
As provided by the law, the minister said, both districts will receive royalties which will accrue from the production of electricity estimated at sh212m every year.
The project is expected to meet the anticipated near-term increase in energy use in Uganda. “We need power to transform our economy,”
Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa, the permanent secretary in the energy ministry said.
“Let us give the project the support it deserves.”