Uganda’s flagship power project, Karuma dam, has been delayed yet again

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The 600MW dam that was expected to be commissioned last year will now take another 12 months under construction by the Chinese firm, Sinohydro. 

Documents, critical to the construction project, seen by Nile Post, show that the delays were occasioned by defects on the dam, a string of unsubstantiated costs filed by Sinohydro and late purchase of land by government. 

Three meetings held at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral development from 3rd to 12 of December show that government and the Chinese contractor failed to agree on over 615 billion shillings’ worth of costs that the contractor was asking for to complete the project. 

In the meetings, government insisted that the costs of over half a trillion shillings were not backed by receipts and accounting and as such could not be paid out. 

Nile Post has also seen a letter from the solicitor general in which government agrees to an extension of the commissioning of the dam but declines any additional cost. 

Karuma dam was expected to cost $1.7 billion but has now been delayed twice and extended its construction time for the originally planned 5 years to now over 7 years. 

Karuma is touted to change the industrialization fortunes of Uganda bringing to the grid 600MW of power, in multiple addresses, Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has hailed the dam as a core part of his vision for the country. 

The new delay will bring into question the ability of government to sustain the cost of delays. 

Edited by David Tumusiime 

 

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