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Government Has Dropped Plan to Build Power Dam at Murchison Falls – Energy Ministry

A cruise on Murchison Falls. Photo by Daily Monitor

The Ugandan government has dropped a plan to construct a power dam at Kabalega (Murchison) Falls Dam, two ministers told parliament on Tuesday.

On June 07, the Electricity Regulatory Authority (Era) published a notice that raised dust among conservationists, tour operators and environmental activists.

According to the notice, Era revealed it had received, two months earlier, from South African firm Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) asking to build a power dam at Murchison Falls.

Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) was applying to be allowed to conduct a feasibility study for a 360MW hydro-power plant at Murchison Falls of River Nile.

But the notice sparked off a social media storm and an online petition, prompting Era to issue a statement to the effect that it had not yet issued a licence to Bonang.

And now two months after the notice, two ministers have told parliament that government had dropped the plan to have a power dam built at the falls.

Junior minister in charge of environment Goretti Kimono Kitutu told MPs government “has no plans to have a dam constructed at the Murchison Falls”.

Junior minister in charge of energy Peter Lokeris revealed that the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) had carried out an environment impact assessment after which it was decided that no dam be built at Murchison Falls.

Both Lokeris and Kitutu agreed it was “very unlikely” for Nema to give a hydro-power project at  Murchison Falls a go ahead.

But speaker Rebecca Kadaga has directed prime minister Ruhakana Rugunda to present the official position of government on Bonang’s proposal to construct a dam at Murchison Falls.

Rugunda is expected to announce government’s official position before parliament on Tuesday, August  27, 2019.

If cabinet backs statements by ministers Lokeris and Kitutu, Rugunda will likely confirm that government is no longer interested in building a power dam at Murchison Falls.

That would mean a win for conservationists, and Era would officially reject Bonang’s application.

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