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New Vision (Kampala)
July 5, 2003

Aga Khan, IFC Plan Dam

HIS Royal Highness the Aga Khan and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) plan to pay for a new hydro-electric dam in western Uganda. IFC is the private lending arm of the World Bank.

Syda Bbumba, the energy minister, said the Government wants people in Bushenyi, Rukungiri and Kanungu districts to become minority shareholders in the project.

"We have reached a stage where most of the electricity generation and distribution function will be placed in private hands, with the Government playing a minimal role of over seer of the whole sector," Bbumba said. She was meeting a delegation of farmers from Buhweju county, who met her at the ministry boardroom.

She said a feasibility study has already been done, and construction is expected to start later this year. However she could not give financial details, saying this was a private project. But the Government was encouraging locals to invest in it.

Bbumba said the first phase will involve putting up power lines, which will tap the national grid managed by the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited.

The second phase will involve construction of a power dam at Ishasha, which will supply electricity throughout the three districts.

The farmers, from Buhweju Tea Growers Association, were lobbying for the extension of the electricity grid to their area, to facilitate setting up a tea factory.

Dr. Maggie Kigozi, the Uganda Investment Authority executive director said Friday, although she was aware of the project, they had not yet issued it with an operational license.

She said all specialised projects have to be first approved by the respective ministries. This is after ensuring that an Environment Impact Assessment, capital base and shareholding issues have been worked out.

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