Energy State Minister Okaasai assures Northern Uganda and West Nile about the Completion of the Grid Expansion and Reinforcement Project

By Our Correspondent in Northern Uganda

State Minister for Energy  Hon  Okaasai Sidronius Opolot  has been in Nwoya District in Northern Uganda to have stakeholder engagements with the communities and local leaders to assess the implementation of the Grid Expansion and Reinforcement Project and resolve pending compensation claims that could delay the completion of this vital development initiative .

The Grid Expansion and Reinforcement Project undertaken by the government of Uganda through the Ministry of Energy is intended to connect northern Uganda and West Nile Regions to the national grid with industrial reliable power to spur development and enhance job creation.

The resettlement action plan which started in 2013 with surveys done throughout the districts of Kole, Lira, Gulu, Nwoya, Pakwach, Nebbi and Arua ( Madi Okollo and Arua City) and completed in 2015 has been successful in many areas apart from a few challenges experienced  in Akako and Pakwach where some  people who were compensated have backtracked on their commitments -claiming that the compensation they received was not adequate .

This has prompted the area leaders who included  MPs Hon Atima Jackson of Arua Central Division who doubles as Government Regional Whip (West Nile), Hon Leku Joel-Terego West and Hon Acan Judith- Nwoya District together with Minister Okasaai to engaged the people of Akako Village in Anaka town council in Nwoya District along with the LCV Chairperson  Mr Orach Emmanuel, Resident District Commissioner Mr Omara Christopher, District Police Commander Afande Nyangoma and the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mr Edema Stephen Budraa to engage the residents in order to arrive at a lasting solution .

The political leaders were also joined by the  Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd officials  led by Eng Abudon Atwine to work out ways of allowing  the construction and completion of the  Kole-Gulu-Nebbi-Arua transmission line.

During the engagements , Minister Okasaai  expressed government and his ministry ‘s commitment to resolve the dispute between the people and government over the compensation rates .He directed all the concerned agencies in the  ministry to resolve the issue with utmost urgency to ensure that the project implementation works are not affected and delayed .

Hon Atima thanked the people of Nwoya District for the support accorded to the NRM government and urged  them to appreciate the efforts undertaken by government to transform Northern and the  West Nile regions- by extending  the  national grid to the regions to  enable  investments  in industries  that will  create jobs for the many unemployed youth and stir economic growth .

” My brothers and sisters we have investors ready to invest in our area (Acholi, Lango and West Nile) but are only waiting for the  availability of power . The investors have already  secured land, identified projects and are very willing to invest and  employ our children. We have a huge market across the border in  Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. So, let’s support government by agreeing to allow the project  to proceed as the last group of affected people are  compensated ,” Atima made a passionate appeal to the locals .

Hon Judith  Acan encouraged government agencies to always involve local leaders in the projects undertaken by government from the initial stages- to enable ownership  and appreciation  of the benefits that come along with these development interventions.

Mr Omara Christopher the RDC assured the people the project will be completed because it has the strong backing of  President Museveni  and warned against corruption in its implementation .

The community had sought the services of lawyers to file for an injunction in  court stopping the continued implementation of the project.  The area MP Hon Tonny Awany then moved swiftly to coordinated with the Ministry of Energy  to engage with the community to avert the court process.

Hon Leku Joel assured the people of Nwoya of the support from West Nile.” We as MPs from West Nile are in full support of your concerns and am hopeful government will address them immediately.”

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