KAMPALA, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Uganda's finance minister on Thursday said the government will add 783 Megawatt (MW) on the national grip in the next two years to address the power deficit that is stalling the country's industrialization.
Matia Kasaija, minister of finance, while reading the country's 2018/19 national budget said the additional 783MW will be generated on completion of the 600MW Karuma Power Plant and 183MW Isimba Power Plants. The construction of the plants is financed by China.
Uganda's current power generation and installed capacity is estimated at 930MW, according to government figures.
"It is now critical to invest in the power transmission and distribution network to supply power to industries and other consumers," said Kasaija.
"The energy mix will also be further diversified to scale up provision of renewable energy such as solar to off-grid areas," he added.
The minister said priority will be given to expansion of the transmission and distribution networks to industrial zones and rural centers to support the industrialization in the next financial year, which starts next month.
"Other interventions in the energy sector will include the promotion of efficient utilization of energy, and enforcing actions against vandalism and illegal connections," said Kasaija.
President Yoweri Museveni said the availability of electricity will attract investors into the country.
"When the cost of electricity is low, you attract investors. Low cost of electricity, transport, low cost of money will improve the economy further and attract investments," said Museveni.
Inadequate, inconsistent and expensive power is one of the major bottlenecks hindering Uganda's fast economic development, according to experts.
Ugandan manufacturers and other big businesses have complained about the high cost of electricity in the country, which they say makes their products uncompetitive in the region.
According to government figures, it is estimated that 1,131MW will be required to meet the national electricity demand by 2020.
Uganda wants to pull down the cost of electricity to five U.S. cents from the current 11 cents.