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Land, finance biggest challenges in electricity projects - NPA

By Benon Ojiambo

Added 2nd September 2020 01:46 PM

This was reached at after an around-the-country monitoring visit to major infrastructure projects majorly in the electricity subsector that the national planning architect has been undertaking.

Land, finance biggest challenges in electricity projects - NPA

UEDCL managing director Paul Mwesigwa (center) explaining to NPA team led by Bwanga (right) during the monitoring visit at the pole treatment plant at Lugogo in Kampala. Left is Joshua Akandwanaho, a senior planner at NPA. (Photo by Benon Ojiambo)

This was reached at after an around-the-country monitoring visit to major infrastructure projects majorly in the electricity subsector that the national planning architect has been undertaking.

ELECTRICITY   INFRASTRUCTURE

KAMPALA - The National Planning Authority (NPA) has identified land compensation and finance as the biggest challenges impeding the speedy implementation of key flagship projects around the country. 

This was reached at after an around-the-country monitoring visit to major infrastructure projects majorly in the electricity subsector that the national planning architect has been undertaking. 

The visit comes at a time when the country has just started implementing the third phase of the National Development Plan (NDP III) that shall run from financial year 2020/21 to 2024/25. 

The team sought to assess the performance of the flagship projects during NDP II, what is expected of them during the NDP III implementation as well as documenting lessons learnt and challenges faced. 

The planning authority team led by George Bwanga, the infrastructure, industry and physical planning manager has over recent times visited Karuma power project and associated transmission infrastructure, road network in Kyenjojo, Tororo solar plant and Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL)'s pole treatment plant at Lugogo in Kampala, among others.  

UEDCL managing director Paul Mwesigwa (left) and chief operations officer Protaze Tibyakinura (wearing red tie) show something to the NPA team led by Bwanga (right) during the monitoring visit. (Photo by Benon Ojiambo)


"Some of the institutions we have visited face financing challenges despite having very good plans. They also face a problem of readily available land for construction of these projects. As a result, these projects delay due to issues revolving around land like compensation and ownership," Bwanga said. 

Findings of the visit, Bwanga explained, are expected to feed into the implementation process of the third national development plan. 

The NDP III lists increase access to electricity, per capita consumption and transmission network and grid reliability as some of its electricity subsector goals that are expected to be achieved by 2025. 

Experts and sector players have on several occasions pointed at slow implementation of projects and inadequate transmission and distribution infrastructure across the country as one of the causes of low access to and consumption of electricity. 

To salvage the situation, heavy investments in the two segments have been suggested as a requisite, a challenge the electricity subsector is currently grappling with despite heavy investment in the generation segment. 

Expansion plans 

In a bid to tap into the vast market of electricity poles, UEDCL is planning to invest at least $3.1m (about sh11b) in a new pole treatment plant. 

The company has already acquired 75 acres of land in Kyampisi, Namayumba town council in Wakiso district where they shall set up a plant. 

A UEDCL employee prepares poles for treatment at the plant at Lugogo in Kampala. (Photo by Benon Ojiambo)


This is expected to more than triple the company's speciality of creosote-treated poles from 25,000 to 80,000 annually. 

The company is also targeting to venture into new specialities like production of concrete and pressure-treated wood poles with hope of churning out 19,200 and 40,000 poles annually. 

Paul Mwesigwa, UEDCL's managing director said the development shall be partly funded by internally generated funds and a loan from the Uganda Development Bank (UDB). 

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