Energy ministry seeks additional Shs128 billion to connect 200,000 households

Kampala – The Ministry of Energy and Minerals Development is seeking a supplementary budget amounting to Shs128 billion to connect 200,000 households in the running financial year.

This is part of Shs318 billion that the Ministry presented before the House Committee on the Budget on Tuesday, 05 December 2023.

“This amount is external financing from the World Bank for the Electricity Access Scale Up Project (EASP) that was suppressed during appropriation, given that the project had not achieved effectiveness,” said Sidronious Okaasai, the Minister of State for Energy.

The Budget Committee is processing a supplementary budget of Shs3.5 trillion for the financial year 2022/2023 tabled before the committee by the State Minister for Finance, Henry Musasizi.

The supplementary budget includes among others Shs197 billion towards road construction, Shs47 billion to facilitate the deployment of medical interns and their allowances and Shs37 billion for renovating Speke Resort Munyonyo ahead of the Non-Aligned Movement and the G77 Summits next year.

Okaasai assured Members of Parliament, that once the money is provided the Ministry will be able to connect most households that have already installed electric poles, for free.

“By connecting more people to electricity, the unit cost is likely to come down because more people will be paying. Give me the money and you will start seeing the connections by next month,” he said.

Okasaai noted that the EASP has since July 2023 been operational but requires additional funding to operationalize some of the activities.

The Ministry’s supplementary request includes Shs30 billion to cover startup costs for Karuma Hydro Power Plant, such as plant insurance, permits, service contracts, and specialized tools.

“This funding is intended to support the project’s implementation, with the goal of commencing commercial operations in November 2023,” Okaasai said.

He also requested for Shs58 billion to cater for shortfalls on the contractual obligations for deemed energy, under the Lira-Agago transmission line for the Achwa-Agago dam.

Members of Parliament okayed the supplementary request as they cautioned the Ministry to deliver on their promise, by connecting mostly the rural-based households.

“One of the reasons some of us supported the disbandment of Rural Electrification Agency was their way of operation, connecting power with segregation. I generate electricity in my constituency, but I do not have power; I would like to see that when this money is given, we shall have electricity in my constituency for once,” said Wilfred Niwagaba, MP Ndorwa County East.

Sheema Municipality MP, Dicksons Kateshumbwa, expressed concern over vast sums of money spent on deemed energy and urged the Ministry to utilize the supplementary and start using the energy.

“We are tired of deemed energy, we need an assurance that when this balance is finally paid, this country will continue paying vast sums of money because we have paid huge sums at the expense of connections. We do not want to hear you coming next year bringing requests on deemed energy,” Kateshumbwa said.

He asked the ministry to share the road map for implementation of the 200,000 connections, saying,” now that the World Bank funding was approved, and that we are going to approve this supplementary, can we start seeing the road map?” asked Kateshumbwa.

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