Ugandans hopes of affordable fuel prices will have to wait longer as persistent load shedding affects the progress of a fuel storage terminal at Bugiri-Bukasa in Wakiso district.
The construction of the terminal along Entebbe road that started last year has stalled because of unreliable power supply. President Yoweri Museveni launched the construction of the terminal off Kawuku in June 2017.
Investor, Ravi Shankar for Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited is frustrated by the recent load shedding in areas of Kawuku where they are constructing the fuel store.
Unreliable electricity supply has made the task of building the fuel store along Lake Victoria in Kawuku very difficult. The store is to stand on 50 acres of land.
Shankar, who is the managing director, says the heavy construction requires steady supply of electricity but this has not been available.
To try and keep to construction schedule, the company has been forced to hire generators. Shankar explains, “These generators produce a lot of noise on top of consuming too much fuel on a daily, and we work for twelve hours a day.”
This is not the only challenge, the project has run into since it started. Shankar says, the road from Kawuku off Entebbe road into Bugiri-Bukasa is in poor condition. The road is narrow, full of potholes and uneven yet they need to transport heavy machinery. They have sometimes ended up driving through residents’ compounds.
Captain Mike Mukula, the board chair Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited, says they have been working under many challenges to complete the project on time.
The comments were made during a tour bya delegation from Kenya and Rwanda to first track its progress since it benefits all countries on the northern corridor route.
Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited (MIUL) was contracted to build the ships at Bugiri-Bukasa and this will transport fuel from Kisumu through Lake Victoria to Bukasa and its here that fuel will be distributed to all parts of the country. The facility will have tanks that will store fuel.
At the launch, Mr Museveni said water transport is the cheapest means of transport, followed by rail transport, road and air transport. “On land, we are working on the rail… We are also building dams to make the cost of electricity affordable, which will attract more investors,” he added.
The terminal is supposed to be operational June 2019.