By Ayiga Ondoga
The contractor of the long-awaited Karuma hydropower dam has said the project is lacking electricians and skilled manpower to operate machines.
The deputy project manager, Liu Jianguo, said the shortage is straining the project because they have to train workers on the job.
“We have so far recruited 168 workers, both Chinese and Ugandan, out of the required manpower of 2,500 needed for the project,” he said.
The sh4.3 trillion (about $1.7b) 600Megawatt power project is being constructed by a Chinese firm, Sinohydro Corporation Ltd. Works on the project have commenced with construction of two big underground access tunnels and access roads on the site.
The project is funded 85% by a soft loan from Exim Bank procured by the Chinese firm, while Uganda will cater for the remaining 15% funding.
The two access tunnels measuring 1400 metres from upper stream to downstream will be used to transport materials, Jianguo said.
The tunnels will also enable work to go on without disturbing the flora and fauna of Murchision Falls Game Park, which surrounds the project area.
Jianguo observed that the construction of the water diversion tunnel is priority in order to complete the project within the time frame of five years.