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Uganda: One Million Households to Get Free Electricity Connection, Says Minister Nankabirwa

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The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu has revealed that government has received a loan from World Bank summing to USD638 millions under the Electricity Access Scale-Up Project to expand electricity connectivity in different parts of the country including refugee host communities.

Nankabirwa revealed this at Kande Village in Katikamu Sub County in Luwero district in an engagement with locals from the area following reports of extortion by private power companies with promises to connect them.

She said that, the ministry’s target is to increase consumption of power to meet the costs of it’s production and this particular project is supposed to run for 3 years and over one million households will be connected at a free cost.

“We have started implementation of this project, put in place committees and we are now contracting out. We shall target those who have poles within their vicinity and we will connect them freely provided ,that houses are connected by certified people,” Nankabirwa stated.

In the meeting, Livingstone Luzinda a resident of Kande Village reported that there’s a private company that asked locals from over 40 house holds in the area to collect Shs 22 millions, each paying Shs 700,000 for electricity poles and connection expenses.

Luzinda told the minister that they had started collecting money but it was really a heavy burden for them and they decided to report the issue to the Deputy Secretary General of NRM Rose Namayanja to help them report the matter to the concerned authorities.

“We have tried to get electricity in our area but in vain. Some company asked us to pay Shs 700,000 for poles and connection but we couldn’t afford so we decided to run to Hon. Namayanja and we are pleased that she has heard our cry by bringing Hon Nankabirwa.”

Namayanja who acted swiftly said that she was shocked to hear that companies are charging people that illegal big sum of money yet power is the engine of development.

” Requiring people to pay money to bring power lines, to me was extortion and it paints a very bad image for NRM because this service is supposed to be free and this is why I decided to invite my colleague Hon. Nankabirwa such that she can directly get it from the horse’s mouth,” Namayanja said.

“I am glad that she promised to send a technical team to come and carryout the designs to ensure that this town that is near Kampala Gulu Highway gets power” Namayanja added.

Nankabirwa warned private companies to desist against charging people for power lines and connection because it is the responsibility of government to connect people to power.

“Government is obliged to connect people freely, so when I heard that there companies charging people for electricity connection, I was concerned because it’s not right, transportation of electricity is expensive so people should be calm and patient government is trying so hard to ensure that power is evenly distributed,” said Nankabirwa.

However, Energy Minister urged those that can afford gas to slowly start using it to protect the environment.

“The government is looking for money to move people from using firewood and charcoal to gas or electricity to save the environment.”

By Nile Post.

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