have questioned why government paid Shillings 110 million for a pre-feasibility
study for the proposed power dam at Uhuru Falls near Murchison Falls along
It came after the
Natural Resources Committee received information indicating that government
paid US$30,000 (approximately Shillings 110
million) for a pre-feasibility study at the proposed dam site.
Committee also learnt that government paid for the pre-feasibility study that was
completed before Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) Limited applied for a permit for
a feasibility study to develop a 360MW power dam on Uhuru Falls.
In April last year,
the South African firm applied for a permit from
the Electricity Regulatory Authority-ERA to undertake a feasibility study and
other related activities in respect of the proposed Uhuru Hydro
power project in Kiryandongo and Nwoya districts.
However, ERA refused to grant Bonang Power and Energy the
permit after receiving petitions from over 40 stakeholders including agencies
such as Uganda Wildlife Authority, National Environment Management
Authority-NEMA and Uganda Tourism Board –UTB opposing the application.
Electricity Act, 1999 provides that ERA shall process an application for a
permit with due consideration of environmental, economic, cultural and social
impacts of a proposed project. ERA Price Manager, Vianney Mutyaba told the Natural
Resources Committee that the application was rejected because ERA was
“overwhelmed by the objections”.
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With the backdrop of the objections from key
stakeholders, who also included environment and climate change activists and
Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, the committee members were irked to hear that government
spent Shillings 110 million on a pre-feasibility study for the
chairperson, Dr. Keefa Kiwanuka noted that the expenditure is captured in
Bonang’s application. He asked the Electricity Regulatory Authority to give
details on the pre-feasibility study. Mutyaba
said that the authority was not aware that a pre-feasibility study had been
done prior to Bonang’s application for the permit.
”Was there a
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The Bulambuli County MP, Mudimu Wamakuyu,
Nakasongola Woman MP, Margaret Komuhangi and Rakai Woman MP, Juliet Kinyamatama
expressed dissatisfaction with the response. Kinyamatama wondered whether
government was also a developer but Mutyaba answered in the negative.
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asked the Energy State Minister, Simon D’Ujanga to explain the matter. However,
the Minister said he wasn’t aware about the expenditure and whether or not the
pre=feasibility study was done.
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Bonang's application shows that the feasibility
study will cost a total of US$3,329,894, approximately Shillings 12.3
billion including the funds spent on the pre-feasibility study. The
company has so far spent US$3,000 approximately Shillings 11 million for
applying for the permit.
Meanwhile, majority of the committee
members have rejected the proposal to carry out a feasibility study as directed
by the cabinet. D’Ujanga told the committee that on December 2nd, 2019, cabinet
agreed that a feasibility study be undertaken since “Uhuru Falls and Murchison
Falls are separate falls that are adjacent to each other”.
He added that cabinet is convinced that the
feasibility study is “the only scientific way to determine the impact of the
project on the environment, tourism and ecology at the proposed
site.” However, the Bukoto County East MP, Florence Namayanja, says the
committee should support views of the public and not the cabinet.
Woman MP, Juliet Kinyamatama, Nwoya MP, Simon Oyet and Aswa County MP,
Reagan Okumu supported Nambooze’s proposal and asked the committee to reject a
feasibility study for the project. Okumu
noted that only 700MW out of the current installed power capacity of 1254MW is
consumed at peak time, saying it will be wasteful to build another power dam
without addressing low demand.
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The Bufumbira County MP, Nsaba Buturo who
initially supported the proposed feasibility study made a U-turn, citing the overwhelming
objections from key stakeholders.