Energy Ministry Seeks Additional Funding to Connect 200,000 Households

energy ministry seeks additional funding to connect 200000 households
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The Ministry of Energy and Minerals Development is requesting a supplementary budget of Shs128 billion to connect 200,000 households within the current financial year. This forms part of the Shs318 billion proposal presented to the House Committee on the Budget on Tuesday, 05 December 2023.

Hon. Sidronious Okaasai, the Minister of State for Energy, clarified that this amount constitutes external financing from the World Bank for the Electricity Access Scale Up Project (EASP). The project faced appropriation challenges due to its lack of effectiveness at the time.

The Budget Committee is currently reviewing a supplementary budget of Shs3.5 trillion for the financial year 2022/2023, covering various sectors, including road construction, medical intern deployment, and Speke Resort Munyonyo renovations for upcoming international summits.

If the requested funds are granted, the Ministry plans to connect households that have already installed electric poles for free, with Hon. Okaasai emphasizing the potential decrease in unit costs as more people connect to electricity.

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Okaasai explained that the EASP has been operational since July 2023 but needs additional funding to implement certain activities. The supplementary request also includes Shs30 billion for startup costs related to the Karuma Hydro Power Plant, aiming to commence commercial operations by November 2023.

Addressing concerns, Members of Parliament approved the supplementary request but urged the Ministry to prioritize rural households. Some MPs voiced their previous dissatisfaction with the Rural Electrification Agency’s approach and stressed the need for inclusive electricity distribution.

Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba highlighted the importance of ensuring electricity access in rural constituencies, emphasizing the expectation that the Ministry fulfills its commitment with the allocated funds.

MP Dicksons Kateshumbwa expressed concerns about the significant spending on deemed energy and called on the Ministry to present a clear roadmap for implementing the 200,000 connections. He emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in utilizing the approved funds.

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