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Umeme injects sh20b to power Roofings plant in Namanve

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st October 2018 05:17 PM

Roofings established a $120m Namanve plant in 2014, doubling its output. Its three production units have a production capacity of 250,000 tonnes per annum.

Umeme injects sh20b to power Roofings plant in Namanve

Roofings established a $120m Namanve plant in 2014, doubling its output. Its three production units have a production capacity of 250,000 tonnes per annum.

Umeme has completed a $5m (about sh20b) Roofings Rolling Mills quality power supply improvement project at the Kampala Industrial Business Park in Namanve.

The project is expected to boost Roofings' output through less supply interruptions, less scrapping of material, higher productivity and output.

"The new project is going to reduce outages and ensure continuous production and sales for our client," Johan Botha, Umeme's manager in charge of the project, said. "On the other hand, our client will have more production time and will no longer have to deal with losses that were previously caused by excessive dips of power," he said.

Roofings established a $120m Namanve plant in 2014, doubling its output. Its three production units have a production capacity of 250,000 tonnes per annum.

Improve quality
Speaking on a radio programme last week, Dr. Martin Kyeyune, the Roofings finance and economic adviser, acknowledged that the quality of supply had improved. "I must say the quality has greatly improved. We are now able to produce day and night, which was not possible before," he said.

Supplying a plant that controls over 50% of the steel products market in Uganda required ensuring steady supply. In the case of Roofings, it means availing 42MW constantly. Umeme's intervention followed complaints regarding poor quality of supply.

Following the complaints, a study to understand the severity of the problem was carried out to ascertain the challenge. The works to address the problem involved installation of a static compensator, which reduces dips by up to 80%. The utility has also injected another $5m to boost supply reliability in the entire Kampala Industrial and Business Park (KIBP) in Namanve.

Located on 2,200 acres of land, some 15km outside the Kampala Central Business District, KIBP has been taunted as the Uganda's new industrial belt.  Since the industrial park was created by Act of Parliament in 1997, over 200 businesses have acquired land and space on concessional terms to establish businesses there.

Large companies such as Roofings Rolling Mills, Steel & Tube Industries, Plascon, Hima Cement, the Export Trading Company, FOL Logistics (U) Ltd, Bakharesa Grain Milling, Coca Cola and Toyota among others have set up shop in KIBP, creating jobs and driving Uganda's economy forward.

However, in order to sustain and increase their production, these companies require efficient, high quality and reliable electricity supply. Francis Kirudde, the Umeme senior manager for special projects, said in an update over the weekend that Umeme has already signed a contract with International Energy Technique (IET), one of the local companies specialised in both civil and electrical works.

"We have already commenced the civil works that are required to provide the platform for electrical infrastructure that will in turn support the demand from our industrial customers. At this stage the respective manufacturers are in the final stages of commencing production of the equipment," he said.

The electrical equipment will be manufactured partly in India and the other in Italy. The project is estimated to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2019. Kirudde says the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited is providing 132/33kV supply that will be integrated into Umeme's robust distribution network to supply electricity to the industrial consumers in the park.  Just like it has done in the Kampala Business and Industrial Park (KBIP), Umeme will work with UIA to integrate the remaining 24 designated industrial parks across the country with its distribution network.

Large consumers
Selestino Babungi, the Umeme managing director, explained that necessary electricity distribution infrastructure is being put in place to support industrial growth and improve supply reliability in areas where different industrial parks are being set up.

Such areas where major developments started last year include Kapeeka, Tororo where three major cement plants are coming up and the continued development of Kampala Business Industrial Park to meet the growing industrial demand in Mukono area not excluding the industries setting shop on the Bombo-Wabigalo corridor and the upcoming SMEs, the main drivers of the economy.

"Continuous investment in the grid ensures its efficiency, reliability, safety and ability to evacuate and distribute increased generation capacity whilst improving the lives of Ugandans," he explained. In anticipation of the load growth from Karuma and Isimba, Babungi says Umeme has developed a network asset investment plan to address the distribution network capacity, improve supply reliability, and replace ageing assets and technology to improve grid efficiency.

He noted that it was fundamental for the country to concentrate on large consumers in respect to the new generation coming on board from Karuma and Isimba hydropower projects. "The key focus should be on stimulating demand through ramping up distribution infrastructure in the high demand and growth economic zones of Lugazi, Iganga, Bombo, Entebbe, Mukono, Kampala, Tororo and other major municipalities in Uganda," Babungi says.

"This will encourage growth in value addition commercial enterprises especially in agriculture and in conjunction with REA, rollout and extend lines to the economically upcoming rural zones. The company will leverage funding from the major donor agencies to complement its capital programme," he added.

Umeme inherited a dilapidated distribution network in March 2005 from the defunct Uganda Electricity Board (UEB), with only 290,000 customers on the grid. However, this number has more than quadrupled to over 1.2m customers as of end of 2017.

This necessitated the expansion of the network, leading to the refurbishment of 21 substations, the construction of 10 new ones in Namugongo, Kira Municipality, Moniko to serve the Iganga industrial customers and Nagongera to stabilise domestic and industrial supply in the eastern region and Nyakesi substation to serve the industrial customers in Tororo, which include the expansion of Tororo Cement Industries, National Cement Company and Hima Cement, the two new cement plants setting shop there.

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