Minister issues ultimatum to Karuma dam contractor

Monday July 13 2020

Energy minister Mary Goretti Kitutu. FILE PHOTO

Energy minister Mary Goretti Kitutu. FILE PHOTO  

By TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY

Energy minister Mary Goretti Kitutu has asked Sinohydro Corporation Ltd, the contractor building the 600MW Karuma hydropower station, to deliver the final project in November without fail.

Dr Kitutu was at the 600MW hydropower plant last Friday to inspect the progress of works as the contractor Sinohydro Corporation prepares for wet testing ahead of commissioning.

Led by Dr Harrison E. Mutikanga, the chief executive officer of the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL), Dr Kitutu visited the underground power house, transformer caverns and the plant’s intake section.

Dr Kitutu told UEGCL and Sinohydro Corporation Ltd officials that they must deliver the project as per the agreement, saying government neither had more time nor funds to extend the project time for the third time.

“By all means, the two parties have to ensure that they deliver the project not beyond November, the deadline. At 97 per cent, you cannot tell me that you cannot fix the three per cent before November,” she said.

Recently, the Finance ministry stated that the contractor demanded for an additional $166m (about Shs612 billion) as compensation for the extension on grounds that delays were caused by the ministry due to land acquisition challenges and change of prior approved drawings, among others.

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But Dr Kitutu said: “I am tasking the teams to work so hard to ensure that they deliver in November without fail because this project has already been extended twice and this would be the third time. Besides government does not have any more funds to inject into the project.”

The minister pointed out that failure to deliver the plant by November would mean a huge failure to the government to deliver the flagship project to its citizens in time.

Mr Gilbert Kimanzi, UEGCL board chairperson, assured the minister that they have are working with the contractor to meet the November deadline.

“Each of us want a fit-for-purpose plant, delivered to the agreed technical standards. We will do all it takes to make sure the contractor delivers by November but we shall not, for the sake of delivery, turn a blind eye to non-conformities,” Mr Kimanzi said.

Early this year, Karuma dam was not commissioned as planned due to uncompleted works in the transmission lines, employers’ camp, and powerhouse as well as reservoir impoundment section of the plant.

The first completion date was December 16, 2018; then it became December 31, 2019. Until recently, the contractor envisaged project completion for September 2020 but moved it to November 2020.

Mr Deng Changyi, the Sinohydro project manager, remarked that the company had harmonised its operations with UEGCL and the project supervisor (AF Consults), and that some of the gaps in the project would be fixed during the defect liability period.

Deadlines
The first completion date was December 16, 2018; then it became December 31, 2019. Until recently, the contractor envisaged project completion for September 2020 but moved it to November 2020.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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