Karuma Dam Construction Kicks Off


side effects geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>A team of financiers from the Exim Bank of China which is expected to provide funding of the dam were on Wednesday taken on assessment tour at the dam as negations for funding draws to a conclusion.

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The Exim Bank team is Thursday expected to meet Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka for the final deal closing.

Talking to journalists at the site, Mr. Song Yi Jun, Sinohydro Project Manager, said his firm has so far spent several million dollars in the preliminary excavations which includes clearing the grounds, digging of a tunnel and paving the roads to the site.

According to Song Yi Jun, much of the necessary arrangements for the construction of the dam have been made, expressing optimism that with the provision of the funds by Exim Bank, full scale activities will resume in the next few weeks.

“As you can see, we have started assembling equipment and soon full scale construction will be under way,” he said.

Song Yi Jun added that the firm has lined up 500 Chinese Experts to provide for the task which will see 3,000 locals directly employed at the peak period. Song said under the agreement, his firm will raise 85 percent of the construction costs while the government of Uganda will raise the 15 percent. Under the arrangement, government was to handle community resettlement which Song confirmed is under way.

“It is a policy of Sinohydro that we have to work on this project within the framework of Uganda laws. To that effect, we are confident to embark on full scale construction since the environmental Impact assessment was done and approved”.

Engineer Henry Bidasala Igaga, The Assistant Commissioner Electrical Power who was on site with the team said the Karuma project was a much welcomed venture which is anticipated to ease the increasing demand for power in the country.

Energy Minister Irene Muloni and chairman Sinohydro, Mr Zhand Yunli on June 20 signed the $1.6bn agreement, ending years of wrangling among rival companies and jostling in corridors of power over the contract for the dam’s construction

Government described the deal as a “milestone agreement for cooperation between Uganda and China.”

Government said the selection of the dam “ensures that Karuma Project commences generation of power as soon as possible and the generation and transmission of this power results in a successful conclusion of this very important project for the economic and social development of Uganda which will be done by Sinohydro at price levels compatible with the government budgetary estimates which are at the level of $1.65bn for both the power plant and the transmission lines.”

That figure includes the cost needed to build a transmission line from Karuma to a location where the power will be integrated into the national power grid.

The Power Station will be located at Karuma, on the Victoria Nile, at the present location of the Karuma Falls, adjacent to the location where the Masindi-Gulu Highway, crosses the river Nile.

Sinohydro Corporation is the world’s largest contractor of hydroelectric projects participating in 50 percent of all the current large-scale hydropower projects globally today.

The company is 100 percent owned by the government of China and recognised by the Ministry of Commerce in China as the country’s leading hydropower contractor and one of its leaders in overseas contracting as part of the government of China’s “Going Global’ strategy.


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