The government has earmarked Shs 200 billion annually over the next five years to roll out the free Electricity Connection Policy (ECP), the minister in charge of Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa said on Thursday.
The policy, which resumed in March this year, aims at increasing access to grid electricity to spur economic development and connections have since resumed, with a dual connection system where customers with the ability to pay for their connections can pay in three days without waiting as the government mobilizes additional resources for the policy to clear the backlog.
The cabinet approved the resumption of the policy considering that the government had procured 87,500 no-pole connection materials worth $ 11,550,000 utilizing funds from the ongoing African Development Bank (ADB) access project while procurement of 62,400 no-pole connection materials from the same project are under process.
Procurement of 234,989 no-pole connection materials utilizing funds from the Exim Bank of China Access project (under TBEA contract) is also ongoing and these materials are expected in August, 2021, according to the Minister.
Speaking to the media in Kampala, Nankabirwa said that the goal of implementing the electricity connections Policy is to achieve 60% electricity access to grid electricity in Uganda by 2027.
“The government pays the cost of electricity connection materials, enabling citizens that are ready for electricity consumption to access free connection materials. Of the targeted annual connections of 300,000 connections, to date 299,843 have been realized as of the end of June 2021,”she said.
She said that at least a total of 1,502 new connections were registered between April and June 2021 adding that the annual budget required to implement the policy is estimated to be shs200 billion to be contributed by government and development partners.
“By December 2020, over 290,000 connections had been implemented under the policy. It ought to be noted that towards the end of 2020, the policy was suspended due to the overwhelming demand yet funds were limited,”she said.
When the government accumulated arrears of Shs 103.4 billion, Nankabirwa said the service providers were unwilling to make more new connections before the government settled the arrears.
Meanwhile, requests for new consumer connections continued accumulating and by December 7 2020, there was a backlog of 200,500 applications for new electricity connections, according to Nankabirwa.