By Ibrahim Kasita
France has granted $23m concessionary loan to finance the construction of the Nkenda-Fort Portal-Hoima transmission line to evacuate electricity from the proposed thermal power plant at Mputa oil field in Hoima.
The 220 kV is also being co-financed by the Norwegian grant of $54m. Uganda will meet the costs related to compensation and resettlement action plans estimated at $19m.
During the signing cerement of the French loan agreement on Thursday in Kampala, finance minister Maria Kiwanuka, said the support will extend electricity to the “western axis,” where the recent development the oil industry have progressed.
“The high voltage transmission line will provide the required transmission back-bone of power to the Albertine Graben region,” she said.
“We will ensure that the loan is properly and exclusively utilized for the intended purposes. We will ensure that proper accountability is provided.”
Sophie Makame, the newly appointed France ambassador to Uganda said the loan is in response to the energy needs of Uganda’s population through adequate transmission facilities and improve the quality and security of power supply with the project areas and regionally.
“We hope that this will increase economic activity and improve social services for the improvement of lives of the citizens and contribute further to poverty alleviation in the country as a whole,” she said.
Uganda Electricity Transmission Company (UETCL) will implement the construction of the transmission line project.
According to Eriasi Kiyemba, the UETCL managing director, the project is expected to last 20-30 month.
France’s support to Ugandan has totaled $226.05m. Uganda and France has selected four priority areas.
The areas of cooperation include water supply and sanitation and water for production, energy, private sector development and biodiversity protection and climate change with a special focus on environment as a cross-cutting issue.