UGANDA: Gov’t Rejects Planned Power Dam in Murchison Falls

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga chairing the afternoon plenary session.
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The Ministry for Water and Environment says that government will not approve the plan to construct a hydropower dam in Murchison Falls.

This stems from a letter dated June 20th to the Ministry through National Environment Management Authority- NEMA from Electricity Regulatory Authority-ERA on an application for a feasibility study for a proposed power dam near the Murchison Falls by a South African Company, Bonang Power Limited.

According to ERA, the company plans to build new hydropower dams at Ayago, Uhuru, Kiba and Murchison Falls to generate 2,550 MW of electricity.

The Minister of State for Environment, Mary Kitutu in a statement to Parliament on Wednesday said that NEMA has not approved the application due to environmental and other socio-economic implications such as tourism.

Kitutu says that after a joint meeting of the ministry of water, NEMA, Uganda Wildlife Authority and Uganda Tourism Board, the ministry rejected the plan.

Kitutu says that constructing a dam will result in flooding at the National Park, which will also affect crocodiles, hippos and other animals, birds in the park.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Minerals, Peter Lokeris said a memorandum in cabinet, though not discussed discourages construction of a power dam at Murchison Falls.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga asked for an official statement from the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda on the matter.

At least 2,533 people signed a petition to stop the planned construction of a power dam near Murchison Falls after Electricity Regulatory Authority-ERA published a note inviting public views on the planned feasibility study in the area by a South African firm that would eventually construct the power dam.

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