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Old July 18th, 2012, 12:02 AM   #1161
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Uganda to improve coffee quality
Publish Date: Jul 17, 2012 Share

A farmer processing coffee. File Photo
By Eddie Ssejjoba


The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has put in place strategies of improving the quality of coffee processed.

The quality and regulatory manager, Edmund Kananura said the authority is concerned that Uganda was the second leading producer of coffee in Africa and ranked 10th overall in the World but about 98% of its coffee is exported.

He said the low local consumption of the beverage could be due to a negative perception Ugandans have towards coffee, which he said emanate from misleading information passed on to consumers claiming healthy related risks amongst consumers.

Kananura told journalists at a coffee gala at the Forest Mall yard in Lugogo that UCDA had embarked on sensitizing local consumers about the healthy benefits of taking coffee and explaining the myths attached to coffee as a beverage.

At the gala, people were served with free roasted coffee that was ground at the site and staff educated consumers on the best brands and varieties and how to prepare a good cup of coffee. The gala’s theme, ‘Drinking Coffee is healthy’, aims at persuading and convincing people to take coffee more regularly.

Brands at the gala included Elgon Pride, Savannah Express, Bugisu Gold, White Mountain, Star Café and Star Coffee and others that sell packed roasted coffee beans and powder.

Other strategies include training roasters and brewers of coffee like students who can be employed in local cafés. Workers in processing industries are also targeted so that they can improve on the quality of the product processed.

Improving local consumption also helps give employment to people who work in the local industries and saves the money the country loses when it exports unprocessed coffee.

In Brazil that produces 50million bags of coffee annually for example, natives consume 50% of the product unlike in Uganda where many grow it mainly as a cash crop for foreign consumers.

The authority has also come up with measures to eliminate substandard brands from the local market, which discourage local consumers.

These include companies that had been processing poor grades of coffee and others that turn husks into powder and sell to unsuspecting consumers.

“It is important to train brewers and roasters in cafés and supermarkets who are able to prepare the beverage up to the recommended standard and those who can identify quality brands good for consumers,” Kananura explained.

At least one should take two to three cups of coffee a day to improve on his health like boosting brain cells to reduce memory loss, reducing heart and cancer risks.



Uganda economic growth seen gaining steam next year
Publish Date: Jul 17, 2012 Share

Governor Bank of Uganda,Emmanuel Mutebile Tumusime
JOHANNESBURG - Uganda's economic growth should pick up steam next year after slowing this year as high inflation and interest rates squeeze consumption and investment infrastructure spending.

The landlocked nation's economy will grow 4.8 percent this year and 6.4 percent next, the poll of 10 economists found, slower than the 6.2 and 7.0 percent anticipated in February.

"We believe GDP growth will have bottomed out in the first half of 2012 with capital investment leading the acceleration in economic activity over the next 18 months," said Mark Bohlund, senior economist at IHS Global Insight.

More recently though, East Africa's third-biggest economy has struggled with excessively high inflation, which hit an 18-year high of 30.4 percent in October, robbing consumers of disposable income.

As prices sky-rocketed, the Central Bank of Uganda implemented a very tight monetary policy, largely to the detriment of economic growth.

"Very high inflation and tight monetary policy have constrained economic growth over the first part of 2012, adversely affecting consumption and investment," said Gregan Anderson, analyst at Business Monitor International.

Interest rates in rich nations are languishing near zero as they try to stimulate depressed economic growth, while Uganda's benchmark rate is among the highest in the world at 19 percent.

The shock treatment of high interest rates has so far been effective as the consumer price index slowed for the fourth straight month in June to 18 percent on a year-on-year basis from 18.6 percent in the previous month.

Still, Uganda's inflation is likely to remain in double digits this year with the poll forecasting inflation to average 16.7 percent in 2012 but easing to 8.2 percent next year.



FALLING INTEREST



Analysts expect interest rates to start normalising towards the end of the year as inflation slows, harnessing the spending power of the 33 million population whilst allowing the government to continue with its infrastructure programmes.

"This should be led by investment into the energy sector with residential construction and private consumption joining in following the normalisation of inflation and interest rates," said Bohlund.

Uganda's economy grew 2.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012 after declining 2.6 percent in the previous three months, driven by growth in the industrial, construction and manufacturing sectors. It grew 6.3 percent in the fiscal year to end-June 2011, official data showed.

In Kenya, East Africa's biggest economy, growth is expected to have fared much better despite the country also having high inflation.

Its economy is expected to expand 5.0 percent this year and 5.6 percent next, benefiting from good trade links with other east Africa bloc members rather than the traditional export destination of Europe, which is struggling with a debt crisis.

On the west coast, Africa's top oil producers Nigeria and Angola, are jostling for the number one spot and are expected to register robust growth as oil prices hover around $100 per barrel. Nigeria could grow 7.0 percent and Angola 9.1 percent.

Uganda is also preparing to kick off its own oil production next year, which could catapult its growth forecasts, making it part of the elite league of oil exporters that grow close to 10 percent a year.

Its plans to become a top 50 oil producer are now back on track after Tullow Oil said it had signed a delayed deal, bringing China's CNOOC and France's Total in to develop the country's oil resources.

Finalisation of the deal will start a $10 billion investment project involving a new refinery and other key infrastructure to enable commercial crude production.
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Old July 18th, 2012, 11:53 PM   #1162
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Trains to move at 70km/hr - RVR
Publish Date: Jul 18, 2012 Share


By Thomas Pere

The Rift Valley Railways (RVR), the regional rail operator, has injected $23.4m into railway transport in the region.

The group has already spent $19m in the purchase of new rails, which will be used in the repair of worn out parts on the sections of the permanent way between Nairobi and Mombasa totalling to 70km.

Another $4.9m has been earmarked for the construction of nine culverts on the Uganda side of the track between Busembatia and Jinja.

Brown Ondego, the group chief executive, last week received the fi rst tranche of 6,869 metric tonnes of rail bars, 10,000 sleepers and other rail accessories at the Mombasa Port.

He pointed out that RVR’s primary focus was to improve the condition of the permanent way so as to improve transit times as line-speeds will increase from the restricted 25 to 30km/h to 70km/h.

The move, Ondego explained, would also provide quality and reliable rail service through operating bigger capacity trains, enhance the efficiency of the railway operations and increase the quality and quantity of the rolling stock.

“Once these projects are complete, the reliability and efficiency of our operations will improve significantly as we will be able to run bigger capacity trains. This will improve our loading capacity and reduce the operation’s transit times,” Brown added.

The first phase of this project will cost $62.1m. It is expected to be completed by December 2014.

Dr. Eng. Cyrus Njiru, the Kenyan transport permanent secretary, reiterated the governments’ support for RVR as a major player in the transport sector.

“We see RVR as an important partner in the economic growth of our country and the region. A well performing railway system is important as it is a link from the port of Mombasa into the eastern Africa market.

Presently, the Mombasa port handles an average of 20 million tonnes annually. Conservative projections show that freight business in East Africa is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4% over the next five years.

We have every confidence that the turnaround programme undertaken by RVR will play its part in decongesting the port.”
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Old July 19th, 2012, 11:17 PM   #1163
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Old July 20th, 2012, 01:26 PM   #1164
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Uganda Wants To Keep 40% Stake in Oil Refinery, Talks With Investors Underway
By Nicholas Bariyo
Published July 20, 2012
Dow Jones Newswires

KAMPALA Uganda--The Ugandan government wants to retain a 40% stake in the proposed oil refinery project in the country's Lake Albertine rift basin, where companies are currently developing oil fields containing as much as 2.5 billion barrels of oil, Uganda's junior energy and minerals minister told Dow Jones Newswires Friday.

The oil refinery, which is expected to cost up to 5 billion dollars, will be developed under a public-private partnership and is billed as the country's largest ever infrastructure project, Peter Lokeris said in an interview.

"We are negotiating with prospective investors, and by around August we will select the most serious companies and ask them to submit bids," Mr. Lokeris said, who added that the bid evaluation will be fast tracked to ensure that the contract is issued to allow commencement of construction works early 2013.

The refinery will be developed in a phased manner, starting with around 20,000 barrels-a-day capacity in the initial 2-3 years, before ramping up to 120,000 barrels-a-day by around 2017, Mr. Lokeris said.

Among the companies that have expressed interest include France's Total SA (TOT), China's Cnooc Ltd. (CEO) and China National Petroleum Corp. Company officials could not be reached for an immediate comment.

The initial phase of the refinery is expected to supply refined petroleum products to the local market, before exporting to the regional East African market. However, analysts say that since Uganda cannot consume 120,000 barrels-a-day of oil, it may not be viable to build a larger refinery, whose products cannot be sold on the local market.

Also, earlier this year, U.K.-based Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN), which operates Uganda's block 2, said a refinery with a capacity above 60,000 barrels-a-day would not be viable. Tullow favors the construction of a 1,300-kilometer pipeline to transport crude for export, through the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

However, according to Mr. Lokeris, the Ugandan government is in talks with members of the East African Community--a regional intergovernmental organization incorporating Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi--to cede at least 10% of the stake to entice them to buy Ugandan refined petroleum products, and provide some financing.

"We are ready to cede 10% stake to the East African Community provided they contribute to the funding of the project," Mr. Lokeris said.
Tullow, Total and Cnooc are currently implementing investment projects worth $10 billion to develop oil fields in Uganda's Lake Albertine rift basin.

And earlier this week, the Uganda government issued tenders for paving at least 1,180 miles of roads in the next three years in a bid to support the "primary growth" of the country's agriculture, tourism and oil sectors, the state-run Uganda National Roads Authority said.

According to tender documents, the government intends to procure contractors with the capability to organize funding for the various road projects to link the country's resource-rich but remote regions.
Uganda is expected to produce as much as 200,000 barrels of oil a day by 2016-17.
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Old July 20th, 2012, 11:06 PM   #1165
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Nyagak power dam to be commissioned on July 31
Publish Date: Jul 20, 2012 Share

The Nyagak dam will supply power to West Nile.
By Benedict Okethwengu


THE long-awaited Nyagak 3.5MW mini-hydro power dam in Zombo district will be commissioned on July 31, top officials have confirmed.

Bauisetti Narendra, the Spencon Services supervisor, said dry tests will start on July 26 followed by the technical commissioning.

Dry testing is carried out to bring power from the turbines into the transformer before it is connected onto the power lines.

“We are done and July 31 is set for the technical commissioning of the dam. We expect the political commissioning in October by the President,” Narendra said.

He said once the dam has been technically commissioned, it will begin supplying power to the people of West Nile.

The technical commissioning comes at a time when leaders in West Nile have been demanding that the Government connects the region to the national grid to save it from the insufficient thermal power supply by the West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO).

Frank Becker, the WENRECO general manager, explained that with Nyagak coming on board, there will be a 24- hour power supply in the region.

He, however, warned of power interruption during the dry testing period before uninterrupted supply can be enjoyed.

Becker also said there is a plan to extend the power transmission lines from Arua to Koboko-Oraba and Yumbe districts.

The power line from Nebbi will be extended to Pakwach. Robert Okumu, the Nebbi district LC5 chairperson, said the technical commissioning will be one of the greatest achievements in the region.

West Nile leaders have been accusing the Government of deliberately delaying the project and using it as a political tool to mobilise support from the region.

The construction of the Nyagak dam was launched in 2006 as part of WENRECO’s 20-year contract to supply power to the West Nile region.

The Government and the Industrial Promotion Services Kenya, owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, agreed to set up a 1.5 megawatt heavy-oil thermal plant to provide electricity to the region.

This was supposed to be enhanced by the Nyagak project, which was expected to be commissioned in December 2008. But the project stalled due to financial difficulties and change of contractors.



Umeme explains loadshedding
Publish Date: Jul 20, 2012 Share


By Stephen Ilungole

The breakdown of a generator at the Lugogo transmission line in Kampala is the cause of power outages experienced these days, Umeme explained.

Henry Rugamba, the headof communications, clarifi ed that the 40MVA transmission transformer, which supplies up to 44 lines, including the major city suburbs of Kira, Namugongo, Kireka, Muyenga, Ggaba, Luzira, Port Bell and Kisugu, was faulty.

“We are affected by faultssuffered by either generation or transmission. Our main concern is the end-user who should be experiencing better quality of supply after Bujagali came on stream with 250MW,” he explained, adding: “Umeme’s network is not the sole reason we suffer outages.”

Kenneth Otim, the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company spokesman, explained that their Lugogo 132KV transformer circuit breakers got a problem on Wednesday.

“There are two transformers at Lugogo. When one goes off, it leaves us with only one transformer. We have to loadshed as we repair the circuit breaker,” Otim observed.
He disclosed that their technicians were trying to route electricity from the Mulago substation into Lugogo.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 09:40 PM   #1166
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Crane opens Naalya branch as competition in banks shoots up
Publish Date: Jul 24, 2012 Share

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer is A.R.Kalan (L) explains talks to Puneet Swarnakar (R)

By Patrick Jaramogi
Crane Bank is getting closer to clients as competition in the banking sector reaches fever peak. The Bank’s clientele continued to grow with latest figures shooting up to over 500,000 with the opening of the bank’s 20th branch at Naalya Shoprite over the weekend.

A.R Kalan, the banks’ managing director told New Vision that the bank was gearing towards taking services closer to residential areas as a means of capturing and attracting more customers.

“This is going to serve as a fully- fledged commercial bank. Families that come for shopping will utilize the moment to also engage in banking within the shopping facility,” he said at the ceremony to mark the official opening of the branch on Saturday.

Kalan said the Naalya Shoprite branch is part of the five new Crane Bank branches to be opened across the country in August. The bank has earmarked funds for opening 25 country branches at the close of this year.

The banks’ branch manager Edith Mutabaruka said the bank would serve all Crane bank account holders, irrespective of where they opened their accounts.

The banks’ after tax profits grew 61% to sh51.6b in 2010 up from sh32.05b a year before largely due to growth in loans and advances with a huge reduction in default rates.

Uganda currently has over 23 licensed commercial banks with only 3 million bank accounts representing 10% of the total population according to Finscope surveys.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 12:30 PM   #1167
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Oil refinery construction process starts in Hoima
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By Francis Mugerwa (email the author)

Posted Thursday, July 26 2012 at 01:00
Hoima

Government has kick started a process of constructing an oil refinery in Hoima District which will displace more than 30, 000 families.

“We have demarcated the land earmarked for a refinery to establish the boundaries. That exercise is complete,” Mr Bashir Hangi, a communications officer at the Energy Ministry’s Petroleum Exploration and Production Department (PEPD), said on Monday.

Government is in the process of acquiring the land before physical construction of the refinery kicks off. But many residents are living in fear of eviction. He said government has valued properties and land of the people who will be affected by the refinery which will be used to ascertain the compensation that will be given to each affected individual or family.

Government used surveyors from department of surveys and mapping to demarcate the land. “We do not know when they will compensate us and the rate they will use for each acre (of land). We are in fear and in darkness” said Mr Gilbert Manyireki, the LCI chairman of Bukona-B, one of the villages which will be covered by the refinery.

Government officials said they are awaiting a report from the consultant which will guide government on how to handle the compensation of the people affected.

Mr Dozith Abenomugisha, a PEPD official, said the construction of the refinery will take three years.
The refinery is expected to have a capacity 20,000 barrels of oil per day.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 03:14 PM   #1168
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Kakira Sugar Works to produce more power
Publish Date: Jul 29, 2012

Kakira Sugar Works boss Madhvani takes Ambassador Patrick Mugoya (centre),energy ministry permanent secretary Kabagambe Kaliisa, on a tour of the factory
newvision
By Ronald Kalyango


Kakira Sugar Works is targeting production of 50MW of electricity by June next year, Mayur Madhvani the managing director said last week.

“In December, we shall be generating 22MW meaning that we would be able to wire 10MW onto the national electricity grid,” said Madhvani.

He, however, said their total electricity supply to the national grid will rise to 30MW in June, when they finish installing the new boiler machine.

Madhvani made the revelation last week while taking the energy ministry permanent secretary, Kabagambe Kaliisa, on a tour of the sugar factory.

He informed Kabagambe Kaliisa who was accompanied by officials from the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) that their electricity production currently stands at 14 megawatts.

Madhvani said the project uses bagasse (sugarcane waste) to produce the 14MW, of which 6MW is sold to the main grid.

“We started producingpower from the sugarcane waste in 2005.

Over the years, we have established that this is so far the cheapest power source,” he said.

According to Eng. Godfrey Werikhe, the REA boss, Kakira was one of the companies which received funds under the electrifi cation for rural transformation to produce electricity through co-generation.

Kabagambe Kaliisa noted that the success of the cogeneration programme has been a result of the Government’s efforts to support the private sector initiatives in a bid to generate power.

Kakira got a $3.3m grant in 2008.

Madhvani explained that sugarcane is chopped into pieces and then moved into a series of crushing machines.

These are giant rollers which squeeze out juice.

“After production of sugar, the next consideration was how to utilise the waste fibre or bagasse.

The factory needs electricity and steam to run, both of which are generated using the fibre,” said Madhvani.

Bagasse is burnt in large boilers, producing heat.

The heat is used to boil water and make high pressure steam.

The high-pressure steam is then used to drive turbines in order to make electricity and rotate the mills.

Madhvani asked for an incentive to be given out to all sugar factories that are engaged in electricity generation.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 03:21 PM   #1169
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Uganda’s crude oil to be exported
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THURSDAY, 26 JULY 2012 23:00 WRITTEN BY JEFF MBANGA 1 COMMENTS
The three major oil companies in Uganda – Tullow, CNOOC and Total - are studying options of potential routes of an export pipeline and the costs, even though government has not come up with a public statement to support such an option.

In the meantime, the Chinese firm CNOOC kicked off its drilling campaign by hitting a dry well. In its half-year statement released on Wednesday, Tullow Oil announced that the oil discovered in the Ngamia basin in Kenya, which has similar features to the oil found in Uganda, has reinforced the need for an export pipeline for the region, the strongest indication so far that Uganda’s crude oil will be exported.

“The companies are currently studying the potential routes and design for an export pipeline, which is a critical element of the overall project,” Tullow noted. The statement added: “The total cost of the pipeline is anticipated to be $2.5 billion to $5 billion, depending on the route, design and throughput. The implications of Tullow’s Kenyan oil discovery are being considered as part of this work.”

No commercial oil has been discovered in Kenya though, meaning that the companies’ operations in Uganda are heavily influencing the plans for the pipeline. The oil companies’ considerations touch on a debate that has long preoccupied the minds of the key players in the industry: whether Uganda should consider the option of exporting crude oil or not.

Government’s position is that the option of exporting crude oil will only be considered only after the regional demand for petroleum products has been met. Different estimates indicate that East Africa consumes about 120,000 – 150,000 barrels of oil per day.

Uganda is expected to produce about 200,000 barrels of oil per day at peak. Up to 2.5bn barrels of oil have been discovered in Western Uganda so far, according to official figures, with production expected to start in three years at the earliest.

According to different government officials, exporting the oil is expensive - It will require generators to heat the pipeline in order to keep the oil flowing from Western Uganda throughout Kenya to the port of Mombasa – a more than 1,300km stretch.

Uganda’s oil is waxy, which means that it solidifies quickly, and, therefore, needs to be heated in order to flow. Building a pipeline would also revive the messy issue of acquiring land and dealing with compensations over the evictions in two countries – a subject that has never been short on controversy.

It was largely on this basis that Uganda’s government decided on the option of building a refinery, which would turn the country into a key supplier of petroleum products to the region.

Also, government argues that a refinery will be an offshoot to the petrochemical industry, where such products like bitumen for road works will be produced. The oil companies, on the other hand, think otherwise.

Their position is that the regional demand might not be sufficient to match the supply of petroleum products. That a country like Uganda should look at ways of exporting its oil as fast as possible while demand is still high so that the money generated can be invested in productive sectors like infrastructure to ramp up the economy.

Uganda remains a key area for Tullow. The oil firm noted that its balance sheet, in which it recorded a 63% jump in net profit, was “fundamentally transformed” by the Uganda farm-down.

Tullow completed the sale of two thirds of its interests in Uganda to China’s CNOOC and France’s Total in February this year for $2.9bn. Tullow says it gained $701m from this deal.

In June, Aidan Heavey, Tullow’s Chief Executive Officer, made his first public appearance, and speech, in Uganda at a Tullow-sponsored cocktail for the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, where, on the sidelines, he said Uganda was “first in the queue” of the areas the company intends to concentrate on.

The Chinese firm CNOOC kicked off its drilling campaign in Uganda by hitting a dry well in the Kanywataba prospect. CNOOC discovered that the well held water, and not oil.

It was the last well that CNOOC drilled before the exploration licence for the prospect expires next month. However, CNOOC still holds a production licence for the giant Kingfisher, which is estimated to hold up to 800 million barrels of oil.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 10:58 PM   #1170
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Uganda: Bujagali Dam Keeps the Lights On in Uganda
BY ARNE DOORNEBAL, 29 JULY 2012
Comment
For the first time in a decade, Uganda enjoys a near-sufficient electricity supply. Results have been immediate. Since the long-awaited Bujagali Dam started producing 250 megawatts in June, power cuts have fallen sharply.

The new hydropower Bujagali output means the country produces roughly 700 megawatts, according to Uganda's energy ministry spokesman Matovu Bukenya. "We are very happy with this project," he says.

Bujagali Energy Limited, the company that sponsored the dam's construction, will also operate it for the next 30 years. After that period, the structure will be sold off to the government of Uganda for 1 US dollar.

"Currently, we are producing to our maximum capacity during peak hours, but the water levels in the lake are not affected at all," says William Groth of Bujagali Energy Limited, referring to some fears that water levels in Lake Victoria would drop. "The energy we produce here with water is three times cheaper than what came from those generators," adds Groth. "And it is cleaner, too."

Dark days

During the most biting times of Uganda's energy shortage, the country had to resort to massive generators. These were powered by expensive diesel, which was imported by road from Kenya.

Still, power cuts came as no surprise. During the peak of the shortage, just before last Christmas, the national electricity company Umeme published newspaper ads announcing which parts of the country would be cut off from electricity for six-, 12- or 24-hour periods. Sporadic riots broke out in Kampala's city centre, where traders worried that blackouts were hurting business.

Named after the Bujagali waterfall in the Nile River, the dam had a long history of setbacks. A previous contractor abandoned the project at the turn of the millennium, thereby causing a years-long delay. Environmentalists have vehemently opposed the project, citing water evaporation and the aforementioned concern about Lake Victoria's water level. Then there was the traditional ceremony to relocate the Spirit of Bujagali, whom some locals believe exists as a protectorate of the community.

More damming

Yet today, power cuts and 'load shedding', as the rotating system of living without electricity became known, have become rare.

While Minister Bukenya has expressed his satisfaction with Bujagali, he notes that "with a growth in energy consumption of 10 percent per year we cannot be entirely comfortable yet".

Uganda plans to build two more hydropower dams in the Nile River. Alongside the Owen Falls Dam, built in 1954, that brings the country's total to four.

"The bidding process for the next project, to be located at the Karuma Falls in northern Uganda, is ongoing," says Bukenya. "We are compensating the people who have to make way for this 600 megawatt dam."

After Karuma, Bukenya adds, there are hydropower plant plans for another spot along the Nile. That dam is to be built at Ayago, a location within the Murchison Falls National Park.
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Old July 30th, 2012, 01:51 PM   #1171
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West Nile to get 5 megawatts damPublish Date:

Jul 30, 2012

Minister D’Ujanga (Middle) with the contractors at the site. PhotoBy Benedict Okethwengu
newvision
By Benedict Okethwengu


With the much-awaited 3.5 megawatts Nyagak mini-hydro dam in Zombo district yet to be switched on, tomorrow (Tuesday) to salvage the people of West Nile from insufficient thermal power supplied by West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO), works on the 5 Megawatt second mini hydropower dam on the same river has kicked off.

Simon D’Ujanga, the state minister for Energy and mineral development told New Vision on Sunday that ,the 5-megawatt Nyagak II dam is being built downstream the Nyagak River, at Rateng village, in Paidha sub-county about 10 kilometers from the first Nyagak dam.

D’Ujanga explained that Nyagak II mini hydro power dam is to boost Nyagak I whose 3.5-megawatt capacity is not enough to power the whole of West Nile region.

“Construction of Nyagak II mini-hydro power project has started with the construction of an access road to the site and I have asked Spencon services to take some of their equipment to the new site,” he said.

“We have the resources available for Nyagak II mini-hydro power dam which will boost Nyagak I and we are in the process of connecting West Nile to the national grid,” D’Ujanga said.

He however did not disclose how much Nyagak II project would cost the government for whose construction will be complete in three years.

He revealed that part of the power supplied by Nyagak would be extended to Mahagi and Aruu in Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We have received request from Mahagi and Aruu demanding for our power but we are yet to consider it,” he said.

He also said that government is waiting for approval from KfW, the German Development Bank for the massive kick off of the distribution of power lines in the region.

He noted that it would take about a year for the all the districts in West Nile to fully connected.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 12:38 PM   #1172
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Bukedde TV imports new equipment

Publish Date: Aug 01, 2012

Walungama showing the new equipment
newvision
By Brian Mayanja


Vision Group has imported new equipment for Bukedde TV. The aim is to improve on the services and to have a wider coverage, according to Mark Walungama, manager Vision Group Television Stations.

The equipment imported includes a transmitter, which will be able to provide clear TV signal.

The equipment has already been installed at a mast stationed at Kololo.

Walungama said they imported the new equipment because they had a problem with the old ones.

“In some areas, our viewers were experiencing poor signals,” he added.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 11:43 AM   #1173
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Nyagak hydro power plant test successful
Publish Date: Aug 02, 2012

newvision
By Richard Drasimaku

The 3.5MW Nyagak hydro power plant in the West Nile region has been tested with success. Tuesday evening, the engineers switched on neighbouring Paidha town in Zombo district after initially limiting the electricity to the powerhouse alone.

Arua municipality MP, Gabriel Aridru who witnessed the tests said he was delighted by the accomplishment.

Aridru said the development would spell an end to power outages that the West Nile region has had to endure for a long time.

He called on the people to use the power resourcefully for developmental purposes.

By press time Wednesday, the power was to be extended to cover Nebbi and Arua districts.

Frank Baker, the country director of the West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO) said the direct testing and simulations was done under controlled conditions.

He added that the technical commissioning of the plant will be done next week Wednesday as planned.

But the official unveiling of the hydro plant will be done in a ceremony presided over by President Yoweri Museveni.

The Nyagak hydro plant construction works, initially scheduled to last two years, began in 2006 under a private-public partnership.

However the project dragged for so long due to mismanagement, financial hardships and lack of technical capacity of Sobetra, the first construction company.

In 2010 mounting pressure from the disgruntled public, WENRECO and the government led to the cancellation of Sobetra's contract.

Spencon Services Ltd then earned the contract and subcontracted FichtnerGmbh& co. KG, a German company and Vs Hydro to do the civil works and electrical engineering, respectively.

The project has cost an estimated US$15million with US$8.8million coming from the German development cooperation through KfWEntwicklungsbank.



80MW more for the grid
Publish Date: Aug 02, 2012
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By Ronald Kalyango

Electromaxx, a private thermal power provider operating in Tororo district, is installing new $60m machinery to increase its electricity production from the 20 to 80megawatts (MW).

Christophe Pringault, the project engineer, told Kabagambe Kaliisa, the energy permanent secretary during his tour of the facility that the new electricity will come on board this month.

“We have installed the latest machinery on the market and I am optimistic that we shall be ready to wire electricity onto the national grid by August,” said Pringault. Kaliisa who was accompanied by technical people from the Rural Electrification Agency was optimistic that the development would enable the country have stable power supply especially during the dry season.

“Over the years, we have been chasing demand regarding power generation, but this is now history. We have put in place mechanisms to increase power generation for Ugandans,” said Kaliisa.

The new Tororo plant will generate power from heavy fuel diesel, crude oil and gas. Kaliisa observed that once completed, the plant will save the country from largely depending on hydro power, which he said is always affected by the dry season.

“When there is a decline in the water levels during the dry season, the thermal electricity will act as our backup,” said permanent secretary.

Early this year, Electromaxx was on the spot following revelations that it acquired its contract irregularly.

The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company announced that the construction of the sh227.82b Bujagali interconnection project has been completed.

The project aims at increasing access to less expensive and reliable electricity supply by providing adequate transmission capacity for evacuation of power from the Bujagali hydro power station to the national grid.

The transmission lines are evacuating the 250MW from the Bujagali plant generation units.

The units replaced the Aggreko 100MW thermal generation plant at Kiira and Mutundwe.

MPs on the adhoc committee probing the energy sector revealed that the plant only generates three megawatts, contrary to the agreement it signed with the Government.

Legislators also observedthat the Electricity Regulatory Authority did not send out bids for the contract, contrary to procurement laws.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 02:25 PM   #1174
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Urban authorities want five new cities
Publish Date: Aug 03, 2012

By Moses Walubiri

The Urban Authorities Association (UAAU) wants five municipalities to be upgraded to city status.

In their request to the public service and local government committee yesterday, the association also asked that 10 town councils be upgraded to municipality status.

The UAAU wants the municipalities of Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Jinja plus Mbarara to be turned into cities and the town councils of Adjumani, Kamuli, Kira, Kitgum, Kisoro, Koboko, Kumi, Lugazi, Mubende as well as Nebbi to become municipalities.

“We have visited these administrative units and are confi dent they meet the necessary requirements for their upgrade,” UAAU chairman and Mukono mayor Muyanja Senyonga said.

However, committee chairman Raphael Magyezi plus MPs Betty Nambooze and Santa Alum demanded an assessment report on the viability of the proposed cities and municipalities and their attendant divisions by Tuesday next week.

“By upgrading these municipalities and town councils, we shall be creating an array of political offices. You have to show justification for their upgrade before the committee can discuss this subject,” a tough-talking Magyezi said.

With each municipality represented in parliament, 10 new parliamentary seats will be created if the House accedes to the request.

The proliferation of local governments has proved to be a touchy subject as perennial underfunding continues to hamstring their operations.

Members of Parliament, for example, heard that 97% of the funds disbursed by the central government to local government are spent on meeting salaries and allowances of staff.

Central government meets 60% of the local government budget component while the 40% is met through revenue raised by the local governments.

According to the Jinja finance officer, George Waibi, for a municipality to be upgraded to city status, it has to have not less than 500,000 residents, core staff like doctors and engineers, a well-planned road network and be connected to the national grid.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 02:50 PM   #1175
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Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Jinja, Mbarara Want City Status
First published: 20120803 4:22:50 AM EST 2Share on twitter

A monument in Kampala city, such beautification items are necessary in cities

Ultimate Media


Five municipalities of Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Jinja and Mbarara should be made cities according to a request by the Urban Authorities Association of Uganda.

UAAU made the request to the Public and Local Government Committee of parliament sitting at Parliament this week.

The urban authorities association also wants the town councils of Kisoro, Kamuli, Kira, Adjumani, Kumi, Koboko, Lugazi, Mubende, Nebbi and Kitgum to be turned into municipalities.

According to the association chairperson and Mayor Mukono Municipality, Muyanja Ssenyonga, they have visited all these urban centres and found them fit for the respective statuses.

The committee chairperson, Raphael Magyezi tasked the association to table before the committee an assessment report including all the different units and boundaries of the proposed cities and municipalities by next week.

The UAAU request has coincided with the proposal to create more than 25 new districts across the country. If the committee and indeed parliament approves the creation of new districts and upgrade of these urban centres, the financial burden on the central government might become unbearable.
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Old August 5th, 2012, 02:17 PM   #1176
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Nyagak dam puts lights on in West Nile after 20 years

Engineers at the 3.5MW Nyagak power house in Paidha in Zombo District. Plans to construct the dam were hatched in the early 1990s. PHOTO BY FELIX WAROM OKELLO

By FELIX WAROM OKELLO (email the author)

Posted Sunday, August 5 2012 at 01:00
IN SUMMARY

Lighted up. The now $16m dam is supplying power to Arua, Nebbi, Zombo, Maracha, Koboko and Yumbe districts. Wenreco received a 20-year concession to supply power to West Nile region.

The journey to River Nyagak in the past painted a grim image as the place was associated with ghosts. Several people got drowned in the river while others used it as a hideout for committing crime like murder. Others who disappeared from homes, their bodies have been recovered in the river. It was used to perform rituals.



But despite the mysterious happenings, the mountainous and undulating contours provide a good scenery for tourism also with green grass and tall natural eucalyptus trees.
This is where the power to supply the region in decades is now coming from after two decades of waiting.

“I am now thinking of setting up a business school. I have been sitting at home because I could not start computer school minus power,” says Ms Eunice Anguparu, a businesswoman in Arua town. The house, where two turbines are fitted, control room, two generators plus a transformer are all installed and connected to the pole that pass high above the river. This is to provide the long awaited 3.5MW power to West Nile districts.

A resident in Paidha town, Mr Ozelle Orwinyu, said this would be historic for the people to get power. “I first came to Nyagak in 1956 and I think this would open up opportunities for investment both for people in West Nile and outsiders.”

The region has been faced with intermittent power supply which has led to investors running away from the place due to power inadequacy. This has cost the region to lag behind in terms of development.

For instance, Seven Hill Adrikos Company closed down mainly due to intermittent power supply, Nile Foam Mattress has been struggling with its own electricity to produce mattresses. Several businesses like bakeries, internet cafes, and secretarial bureaus have been closed down due to power blackouts.

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Nyagak dam puts lights on in West Nile after 20 years
The plans to construct the dam started in the 1990s. This was hatched by the now Bishop Emeritus of Arua diocese, the Rt. Rev Fredrick Drandua, who single-handedly lobbied for $32 million from Italian friends and government to construct the dam with five turbines.
The Bishop narrates that he then took the plan to the Italian government where they agreed to give $30 million and Uganda government pays $2 million. But to his dismay, government said it did not have the money.

It was not until 2006 that the West Nile Rural Electrification Company Ltd (Wenreco) started to construct the hydropower dam. However to the dismay of residents, the construction of the dam that was expected to end in 2007 dragged on for close to six years. This saw residents demonstrate and government giving Wenreco an ultimatum in 2010.

Now it has been constructed and power is in people’s houses. The dam reservoir has a capacity to store 136,000 cubic centimeters and the water level to fill the dam is 42.7 meters. Even those in grass-thatched houses plan to construct permanent buildings to tap the power.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

TIMELINE
1997. An EIA study was done by Gissat Technical Consultants Ltd
2005. An Environmental Impact Statement is done
Feb. 2006. President Museveni carries out a groundbreaking ceremony.
Dec. 2006. Czech construction firm Skodaexport Company Ltd starts construction.
Mid 2009. Construction work stalls due to financial constraints and contract of Sobetra Company terminated
Aug. 2010. Construction work resumes with new contractor.
July 29, 2012. Two turbines running.
Aug. 2. Power is switched on in Paidha at 7:30pm, Nebbi town gets power at 8:30pm
Aug. 3. Arua town gets power at 4pm.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 01:36 PM   #1177
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Eskom to refurbish Nalubaale power station at US$15m
Publish Date: Aug 06, 2012

Journalists look at Kiira Hydro Power Station during a one day media familiarisation tour to the Pow
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By Ibrahim Kasita


The lifespan of the ageing Nalubaale hydropower plant has been prolonged after a comprehensive upgrade and refurbishment worth $15m, the operator disclosed.

Eskom Uganda, the firm that was awarded a 20-year concession to operate and maintain Nalubaale and Kiira hydropower stations at Owen Falls Dam complex in Jinja, said power station can continue to run efficiently for another 20 years .

The Nalubaale Power plant was built in 1950s using old technology and as result of continued use for over 5 decades, the plant has deteriorated.

Normally hydropower plants are designed to generate electricity for a period of 50 years and then decommissioned.

However, over the past nine years, Eskom Uganda has invested over $15m to carry out comprehensive rehabilitation and refurbishment plan of the plant, which has extended it lifespan.

The money is above and over the capital expenditure investment and modifications minimum obligation of $6.8m, as per the license and the concession agreement respectively, underscoring the need to support the private sector.

“Plant failures/outages have been minimized by over 90%, due to the increased efficiency and plant availability has been maintained at 96% and above,” Nokwanda Mngeni, the firm’s managing director, explained.

“The switch yard has been refurbished, which has increased reliability of electricity supply.”

The upgrade of Nalubaale Power Station has helped the plant to continue producing clean and cheap power to the national grid.

Nalubaale plant produces 180MW while the Kiira plant has 200MW bringing the total installed capacity of the two power plants to 380MW.

However, due to strict water release policy, the current average production is 139MW. This has raised the argument that Nalubaale plant should be shut down to allow effective use of Kiira.

But Mngeni explained: “That is possible but then it does not make sense to lose some energy from this (Nalubaale power station). The country still needs least cost energy.”

In order to increase efficiency, tremendous effort has been invested in skills development and retention, through on the job training of both management and staff in decision making and focusing on results.

“The training has helped in key aspects like planning effectively, maximizing availability, reliability and capacity and task execution and compliance to contractual conditions,” Mngeni said.

Eskom has implemented strict safety, health and environment policy which has reduced employee risks and fatalities at work. As at 28th February, the firm achieved 500 days without registering any injury or fatality.

“We have undertaken the national occupation safety association (NOSA) audit to ensure our operations has safety systems to address health and safety issues at work,” she said.

Stephen Byaruhanga, the firm’ financial director, said that they have used in-house skill to execute and commission projects with combined value of over 8.1m.

“In the last nine years we have had to re-do the technical parts of the plant, modernize the control room as new equipment were installed to help us monitor operations,” he said.

He said most of the mechanical and technical tools come from abroad but their costs have escalated straining the firm’s financial envelope.

“We have estimated that in the next 4-5 years quite significant investment of about $20m will be needed to keep the plant operational,” Byaruhanga said.

“This is because there have been increased costs not only in operation and maintenance but also replacing old technology with new ones. The supply market is very difficult because it takes us time to order and bring the need tools.”

However, the company is also facing high staff turnover. “This is a big problem for us. We invest significant time and money to train and re-tool our staff but before we start enjoying the returns they are snatched away from us,” Mngeni pointed out.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 03:44 PM   #1178
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ESKOM to Invest $20m on Nalubaale, Kiira dams
Business

SUNDAY, 05 AUGUST 2012 19:20 WRITTEN BY JOSEPH OLANYO 0 COMMENTS
Eskom Uganda Limited (EUL), the country’s largest electricity generator, will invest $20 million in the operation and maintaining efficiency of the Nalubaale and Kiira power plants in Jinja.

The 5-year plan will involve minor repairs on the dam, replacement of generator transformers and controller systems that help in mounting and controlling turbines. Together with the $15 million initial investment over the last nine years, this will bring to $35million the total investment injected by the company since its entry into Uganda in 2002.

“We would like as much as possible to keep the lights on by constantly monitoring and maintaining the efficiency of the plants as best as we can,” says Ms Nokwanda Mngeni, the Eskom Uganda Ltd Managing Director.

Steven Byaruhanga, Eskom’s Finance manager, said the company spends almost 25% of its budget on maintenance costs. He said a total of Shs 2.5bn was spent in 2012 on maintenance costs alone.

Asked about the bridge’s life span in the wake of cracks underneath the bridge, Nokwanda said: “In 2010, we consulted an independent engineer from Canada, and we were told that we have another 20 years. In terms of the aging plant, you can replace the components and constant monitoring of the cracks”.

Eskom Uganda Ltd was incorporated in 2002 and awarded a concession to operate and maintain Nalubaale and Kiira Hydro Power Stations in Jinja for 20 years. Eskom sells the hydro power electricity it generates to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) as the authorized single buyer. UETCL in turn sells the electricity to the distributor, Umeme
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Old August 6th, 2012, 10:10 PM   #1179
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Karamoja Minerals Exploration To Start
First published: 20120805 11:57:39 AM EST Share on twitter

Ultimate Media

The government is in advanced stages of starting the exploration of minerals in Karamoja region after several geological surveys identified mineral potentials.

The State minister for energy Samuel Lukyanga says that following the relative peace in Karamoja following the disarmament exercise allows for the mineral exploration to kick off.

He says though Karamoja is known for high levels of under development, it is believed to be rich in several minerals that include gold, diamonds among others.

Lukyanga says a high voltage line power is being channelled to the region to support proper mineral exploration.

However many residents in karamoja have been complaining of land grabbing in the area by big government officials following the mineral potential.

Some of these officials are reported to have been running an open gold mining industry making which gold and other minerals they sell in different foreign countries.
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Old August 11th, 2012, 12:18 PM   #1180
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Uganda, S. Korea in multi-billion fruit project deal
Publish Date: Aug 11, 2012

After the signing of the partnership. PHOTO/Esther Namirimu
newvision
By Esther Namirimu


The government of Uganda has entered a joint deal with that of South Korea which will see a multi-billion fruit processing factory established in Teso region.

The US$7.4 million is aimed at promoting industrial growth, income diversification and increasing household incomes in the region.

It will also help equip Ugandans with hands-on experience while operating the modern processing equipment at the factory.

South Korea is funding the fruit plant project through its central development aid agency, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Her share will be used to establish a turnkey fruit processing factory in order to support value addition in fruit processing.

On her part, Uganda will contribute US$2.2 million through Uganda Development Corporation (UDC).

The US$2.2 million will be spent on provision of water, electricity, road network, construction of waste treatment plant and required studies for the project, among others.

The partnership was put on pen and paper at Uganda’s ministry of finance, planning and economic development Thursday.

KOICA resident representative, Kang Younhwa and finance ministry’s permanent secretary, Christopher Kassami, signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of their governments.

Also present at the ceremony was Chargè d’affaires of South Korea, PARK, Jongdae and Caretaker CEO of UDC, Eng. Samuel Ssenkungu.

KOICA in collaboration with UDC is expected to construct the factory structures, provide and install equipment and materials necessary for the factory operation.

The South Korean aid agency is also expected to conduct invitational training of five marketing planners and five hands-on workers for two weeks and three months respectively in Korea.

The ten intended recruits will share and transfer technical knowledge and experience of operating the factory.

KOICA will dispatch Korean experts (marketing planners and factory operators) to implement, supervise and give technical assistance regarding the implementation of the Project.

Teso region is one of the leading producers of citrus fruits in Uganda, with approximately three million fruit trees, according to Uganda’s national agricultural production data.

The estimated production potential is about 600,000 metric tons of fruit per year.

Despite this potential, the region has not seen any investment in fruit processing, whether led by the private sector or the public sector. Therefore, the project is seen as a timely one for Uganda.

Completion of the factory is expected in 2014.
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