UMEME secures USD70m loan for power distribution

Patrick Bitature, Board Chairman UMEME By Moses Ndhaye

Electricity distribution company, UMEME has secured a USD70 million loan which is the equivalent of about Shs257 billion to improve its distribution infrastructure in the country.

The loan has been secured from the International Finance Corporation, Stanbic and Standard Chartered banks.

While signing the agreement this morning, the chairman board of directors, Patrick Bitature said they are targeting to connect over 2 million new customers to the grid effective next year.

He says some of the funding will be used to address the current 16.6% power loss resulting from theft.

He says for the last several years, the company has invested over USD600 million.

Meanwhile, Bitature has asked government to carefully evaluate its plan to construct a power plant at Murchison Falls.

He says whereas the country needs hydro power, it cannot be achieved at the expense of conservation of nature.

He advises that government instead promotes tourism which has great potential to contribute the national GDP because Murchison Falls’ unique feature will be irreplaceable once lost.

When the plan was revealed in August, the government denied it but last month, it emerged that cabinet had okayed a feasibility study to be done on the possibility of building a 360MW power plant at the Iconic Murchison Falls.

Bitature stresses that while government needs to plan ahead for its power sources to deal with the fast-growing population, Murchison Falls should not be among its considerations.He however urges the public to allow government to do its technical study.

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