24 June 2010

Uganda: Power Cuts to Go, Says Museveni

Kampala — President Yoweri Museveni yesterday commissioned a 20MW power plant in Tororo.

Museveni observed: "It (power plant) will generate electricity that will benefit a lot to all of us. You had the problem of electricity supply but this problem will go away."

The plant can light the whole of Kampala, Mukono and Entebbe.

The $20m-plant, that will use heavy-fuel oil to produce electricity, is owned by Electro-Maxx, the first local independent power producer.

Patrick Bitature, the Uganda Investments Authority chairman, owns the plant.

The President, who was speaking in Swahili, said although the plant was small, he expected more investors to put their money in electricity generation.

Energy minister Hilary Onek said the capacity of the plant would increase to 50MW.

"We are authorising the investor to increase capacity to 50MW so that power outages are removed as well as complete rural electrification," he said.

Energy experts say the plant will boost power supply and accessibility, create jobs, reduce poverty and improve the quality of life.

The President also opened a food processing factory and commissioned the construction of a dry in-land port at Malaba border.

The food factory, SEBA Foods, is a subsidiary of the Export Trading Group, which has branches across East and Central Africa.

SEBA buys grain from local farmers; cleans, grades, processes and packs it for export. Such produce with value added, Museveni said, fetches guaranteed prices.

The President described the factory as a "very good facility." The company employs 100 people.

"They add value to our produce, process, preserve and take it to the international market. These are good allies. I salute and congratulate them," the President commented.

He encouraged them to expand and bring in other investors. "We have a problem of fruits in Soroti," Museveni told the investors.

He also urged them to go into coffee processing, saying Uganda earns $1 per kilogramme of unprocessed coffee and $15 for instant coffee.

Museveni said the environment for investment in Uganda improves by the day.

"We are now dealing with electricity. We want to ensure that Uganda has abundant and cheap electricity," he promised.

In the evening the President commissioned the construction of a dry inland port on a 250-acre piece of land at Malaba on the Uganda-Kenya border.

The works will be undertaken by Great Lakes Ports Limited.

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