The much anticipated commencement of construction of Karuma Dam by Sinohydro, a Chinese Firm contracted by the government of Uganda to construct the 600 Megawatts dam on Karuma has begun.
A team of financiers from the Exim Bank of China which is expected to provide funding of the dam were on Wednesday taken on assessment tour at the dam as negations for funding draws to a conclusion.
The Exim Bank team is today expected to meet Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka for the final deal closing.
Talking to journalists at the site, Mr. Song Yi Jun, Sinohydro Project Manager said his firm has so far spent several million dollars in the preliminary excavations which includes clearing the grounds, digging of a tunnel and paving the roads to the site.
According to Song Yi Jun, much of the necessary arrangements for the construction of the dam have been made, expressing optimisms that with the provision of the funds by Exim Bank, full scale activities will resume in the next few weeks.
“As you can see, we have started assembling equipment and soon full scale construction will be under way” he said.
Song Yi Jun added that the firm has lined up 500 Chinese Experts to provide for the task which will see 3000 locals directly employed at the peak period. Song said under the agreement, his firm will raise 85% of the construction costs while the government of Uganda will raise the 15%. Under the arrangement, government was to handle community resettlement which Song confirmed is under way.
“It is a policy of Sinohydro that we have to work on this project within the framework of Uganda laws. To that effect, we are confident to embark on full scale construction since the environmental Impact assessment was done and approved”.
Engineer Henry Bidasala Igaga, The Assistant Commissioner Electrical Power who was on site with the team said the Karuma project was a much welcomed venture which is anticipated to ease the increasing demand for power in the country.