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Minister Nankabirwa booed over delayed power extension to West Nile region

Nankabirwa told locals and the leaders that the unreliable power supply in the region will soon be solved since the government has put in place the required infrastructure to extend the national grid to West Nile.

Energy Minister Nankabirwa speaking at a function in West Nile on Tuesday afternoon (Photo/URN)

ARUA, UGANDA: Residents of Arua City yesterday booed Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development over the delayed connection of the West Nile region to the national grid.

Speaking at a function to welcome the President at the start of his tour of the region on Tuesday, Nankabirwa told locals and the leaders that the unreliable power supply in the region will soon be solved since the government has put in place the required infrastructure to extend the national grid to West Nile.

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Her remarks did not go down well with the locals as they interrupted the minister’s speech chanting: “Wongo”, a Kiswahili word meaning Lie, while others chanted go away, we need power.

Haram Ceka, the female councilor representing Ewanga sub-county to Madi Okollo district council said that for a long the government has been lying to the people of West Nile about extending reliable power supply to the region.

“Government has been changing the deadline for connecting the region to the national grid. We are tired of lies”, she noted.

Unbothered by the boos Nankabirwa continued with her speech noting that government remains committed to connecting the region to the national grid by the end of June this year.

According to Jackson Atima, the Member of Parliament for Arua Central Division in Arua City, the absence of unreliable power has undermined industrial development in the region.

Dr. Chris Baryomunsi commended the locals for expressing anger over the electricity challenge in the region.

“I want to thank you, people, for expressing your grievance over the issue of power in the region. I am speaking as NRM central executive member”, he said.

West Nile region long has been grappling with unreliable electricity supplied by the West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO) which is far below the current power demand of 11MW.

Although in 2020, the government contracted KEC International Limited (India) and a joint venture of AVIC International Holding Corporation and Central Southern China Electric Power Design Institute Company Limited to undertake the grid extension project the works are incomplete.

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