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Free Uganda Rural Power Connections Starts July 2012

Kanyekiro Ssemutundu Is a resident of Nyamambo village in kiruhura with a desire to connect electricity to his premises house, commercial building with milk cooling system.

His goal has not been achieved for the last five years because he cannot afford the mandatory connection fees (about sh500,000) levied before electricity is wired to the premises.

But now Ssemutundu's dreams will become a reality once the government implements it's promise to provide support for people in villages to connect to grid virtually at no cost.

"One of the major constraints to accessing electricity which we (government) have noted is the inability, mainly of the rural and peri-urban dwellers, to afford connection costs," President Museveni observed Thursday. .

"Yet there cannot be the desired transformation unless people are connected. Government together with some development partners is starting a subsidy scheme to ease the burden of high upfront connection costs," announced the president in a speech read by his Vice President Edward Ssekandi.

Museveni said the scheme will start "modest" in the next financial year (starting this July).

This was during the launch of Bujagali Interconnection Project at Kawanda Sub-Station in Wakiso. The Project is an associated power transmission system financed by the African Development Bank, Japan and the Government.

The project will provide transmission of power from Bujagali Hydropower Station to the nation grid.

At the moment the project is currently evacuating 100 MW from the 250 Bujagali hydropower station. Uganda has had an acute shortage of electricity which has negatively affected the economy and well-being of citizens.

But completion of the Bujagali Hydropower plant will deal with the acute power shortage replacing expensive thermal generation power that had cost a lot of government subsidies.

"Access to affordable, reliable and adequate energy to meet the ever increasing household, commercial and industrial demands is a major priority of the National Resistance Movement," Museveni stated. "Unemployment can be addressed through increased investments in the country."

The President called for "a more aggressive programme put in place by the Umeme in the next seven years and achieve a distribution loss target of at least 15% from the current 27%.

Patrick Khaemba, the AfDB resident representative in Uganda, said the launch was "a landmark" and "a milestone" towards the provision of electricity supply to the people of Uganda.

"This project will benefit all Ugandans by providing reliable and cheaper electricity which will in turn promote development and improve people's living standards," he said. The public has been requested to safeguard the investment against any form of vandalism.

The New Vision Newspaper

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