The Observer (Kampala)

31 July 2014

Uganda: Districts to Draw Power Plans for Their People

The ministry of Energy has told district communities to draw up plans that would help the government to scale up power in the countryside.

Local government entities have a chance to create working groups that will liaise with the ministry of Energy after guidelines improving energy access at district level were drafted. These guidelines will guide the local entities to draw up their plans.

Samson Tolessa, a development coordinator at GIZ, said prevailing issues in the energy sector are due to the missing link between the centres of policy and plan development at ministries and local government bodies. Most Ugandans use firewood as their energy source.

He was speaking at a workshop organised by the ministry of Energy and GIZ at Golf Course hotel last week. The guidelines set by the ministry of Energy are being piloted in 17 districts of the West Nile and Lango sub-regions with support from Germany's GIZ.

For long there had been centralisation of energy plans as the government tried to extend electricity supply, where less than 15 per cent of the population has access.

James Owachi, the district planner of Zombo, said these guidelines would "establish that important linkage between the ministry of Energy and local governments."

Currently, five per cent of rural communities is connected to the grid. Plans set up by different districts will feed into the major energy plans to have more people access power.

Local governments will be keen on planning for climate-smart technologies. There are vast underutilised energy resources that can be utilized by districts, which include hydropower, solar, geothermal, uranium and biomass.

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