Last Updated: 2013-07-30
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By Taddeo Bwambale

KAMPALA, July 30 (NNN-NEW VISION) -- The Ugandan government has cleared a Chinese firm to start construction of the 188-megawatt (MW) Isimba hydro-electric power dam.

China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWEC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government last week to construct the dam which is being financed by a Chinese government loan of 570 million USD. Through a bilateral arrangement, the Chinese government and China's Exim Bank, will provide the funds for the dam.

The Energy Ministry’s assistant commissioner for electric power, Henry Bidasala-Igaga, said here Monday that preparations for signing a contract with the firm were ongoing and was expected to be concluded by the end of next month.

Preliminary estimates show that affected households in the project area who have to make way for the dam's construction will receive a package of 10,000 USD per household. According to Bidasala-Igaga, the residents will be given three months to leave the project site after receiving their compensation packages.

Upon completion, the Isimba hydro-electric power dam will be the fourth largest such project in Uganda, after the 250-MW Bujagali power project that was switched on last year, the 600-MW Karuma Dam and the 600-MW Ayago power station.

The proposed plan indicates that Isimba will be located 40 km downstream from Bujagali Dam. The project includes the construction of a 132-kilovolt power transmission line connecting it to Bujagali.

Lin Renwei, the CWEC country representative, said the hydro-electric power would be produced at 68 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), considered the lowest in East Africa. -- NNN-NEW VISION