ARUA. The state minister for energy, Mr Sidronius Opolot Osakai has said the West Nile region will be fully connected to the National Grid by September 2022.
Opolot who was in company of state minister for Northern Uganda, Ms Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny and members of Parliament from West Nile inspected power stations in Northern Uganda, including Karuma dam over the weekend.
The MPs wanted to know why it was taking so long for the power lines to be constructed despite money being available.
The pronouncement comes at the time when the region is grappling with unreliable electricity supplied by the West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO) whose power supply does not support industrial work.
“I can now pronounce that, by working as partners with MPs, ministers and ministry of energy, we expect the project to deliver a transmission connecting West Nile to the National Grid by September 2022 and we are committed with the contractors to deliver power”, Opolot Okasai said.
He disclosed that the ministry of energy and mineral development will have further discussions soon about the rural electrification program so that all the villages in the region are connected to electricity.
Arua central MP Mr Jackson Atima and Arua city East Division MP, Geoffrey Feta stressed that MPs from West Nile were bitter on the floor of parliament when the government chief whip, Mr Thomas Tayebwa recently stated that all the regions in the country have been well connected to electricity.
This pronouncement irritated members of parliament from the West Nile region prompting Koboko South member of parliament, James Baba to call the chief whip to order by refuting the government chief whip’s pronouncement in reference to the West Nile region.
Mr Abdon Atwine, the commissioner in charge of electricity distribution in the ministry of Energy and Mineral development, noted that September next year, Arua power station will be the last to be commissioned as Oluyo station connected from Karuma is almost done.
The Arua city mayor, Mr Sam Wadri Nyakua expressed disappointment on how unreliable power from the region is affecting employment for the population in West Nile.
“Sometimes we wonder whether we are still part of the Belgian Congo or Uganda. Hon minister, when you go back, inform the government that we are not happy as a people of West Nile. We should not always be here looking for votes and serious developments are taken to other regions” Nyakua stressed.
While the Arua power station was launched last year by president Museveni, it has remained at bush clearing level as locals question why the launch at Muni site was rushed.
AVIC International Holdings Corporation, the contractors for the power extension confirmed that materials for the Arua sub station will soon arrive in the country so that installations can take off.
Currently, WENRECO supplys less than 7megawatz of power in the West Nile region from Nyagak hydro power plant and thermo power by Electro-Max.