By Patrick Jaramogi and Ronald Kalyango
Ninty-eight districts out of 112 are connected to the national electricity grid, energy minister Irene Muloni said on Tuesday.
Addressing the press during a media breakfast at Imperial Royale Hotel, Muloni said 26 district headquarters had been connected onto the national grid since 2006.
“Construction works to extend electricity to the districts of Buliisa, Adjumani, Moyo, Amuru and Otuke is on-going and these will be electrified by June 2014,” said Muloni.
The minister also revealed that construction works to connect five more districts of Zombo, Koboko, Maracha, Yumbe and Namayingo is ongoing and will be completed next financial year.
“The districts of Kotido, Kaabong and Nwoya have been planned for connection to the national grid by the end of 2014/15 financial year,” said Muloni. Muloni said the first phase of the programme’s implementation was hindered by inadequate resources. “If we get resources as planned, our target is to ensure that no region in Uganda is left behind.
It is one of the Government’s plans to ensure universal access to electricity by 2040,” she said. Muloni said cabinet recently approved a 10-year rural electrification strategy and plan (2013-2022), designed to increase electricity access in rural areas from the current 7% to 26% in 2022. A 50% target has been planned for 2030 while universal access in 2040.
She said national access to electricity has increased from 5% in 2001 to 14% in 2013 with a targeted 40% in 2022 while 80% will be achieved in 2030.
The energy ministry’s permanent secretary, Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa regretted that despite their ambitious plan they didn’t achieve the 10% rural electrification target by 2012.
“Rural electrification stands at 7% because the initial donor-sponsored designed policy failed to work and we had to change it in 2006. The Government decided to take on the development of infrastructure while the private sector came in to manage the constructed lines,” said Kabagambe.
REA’s executive director, Godfrey Turyahikayo said the Government will provide subsidies for the poor in areas already connected to the grid. “We have noticed that despite extending power to rural areas most people are not connected due to high connection fees $200 (about sh550,000).
The Government has come up with the Output Based Aid (OBA) initiative to solve this challenge,” said Turyahikayo. He said OBA will be based on the existing grid.