State Minister for Energy Sidronius Okasaai Opolot has emphasized the need to check products on the market meant for use in the broader energy sector.
He says if these products are not checked, substandard products may compromise the government’s efforts to support access, reliability and affordability of electricity.
“Products may appear on the market that need to be checked for quality and safety. The ministry of energy and Mineral Development will continue to work with that of trade and all the relevant government bodies to develop and enforce standards to ensure the right products are being deployed in the broader energy sector” Okasaai said while opening the Inaugural Strategic Suppliers’ Engagement Forum 2022 for the Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) at Mistil hotel Kampala.
The forum was organised by Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) in collaboration with PPDA, UNBS and Uganda Manufacturers Association.
The minister noted that the forum was timely as it provided a platform for stakeholders to interact and exchange ideas, views and lessons to enhance local content in the electricity sector.
He said that manufacturing is one of the 18 programs that have been identified by National Development Plan III to promote sustainable Industrialization for inclusive growth, employment and sustainable wealth creation.
“The goal of the manufacturing program therefore, is to increase the product range and scale for import replacement and improved terms of trade. As the energy sector, we’re pleased to partner with indegenous stakeholders to build local capacity and increase skilled manpower to innovate, manufacture, operate, repair and maintain energy systems so as to enhance adoption of clean energy” he said.
He commended ERA and her partners for organizing the forum, adding that the Energy and Mineral Development sectors have made significant progress toward the achievement of the National Development Objectives and are in line with NDP III and the NRM manifesto.
He said a number of generation projects spearheaded by both the public and the private sector have been completed and commissioned while others are under implementation.
“Sourcing locally and using new private sector investments to catalyze local economic growth is a step in the right direction ” he said.
Meanwhile, ERA Chief Executive Officer Eng. Ziria Waako Tibalwa said this forum themed ‘Enhancing Local Content in Uganda’s Electricity Supply Industry for Socioeconomic transformation’, was meant to share updates on the electricity supply industry in Uganda by way of achievements, challenges and opportunities.
She called for concerted efforts among stakeholders to achieve required quantities and quality of products.
“It’s interesting and encouraging that the local production capacity has continued to grow. Secondly, we can partner together in the area of standards to ensure that what we need is what you produce and meets the national and international standards and also serve the period they are supposed to serve” she said, adding that ERA has embarked on program of documenting local manufacturers so that it can know their location, what they do and their capacity.
She noted that even power tariffs can’t go down if we continue importing products in the electricity sector which are billed in dollars.
“If we use local content, we shall be contributing to our revenue, create jobs and also improve on competitiveness” she said.
In another development, ERA board chairperson Dr. Sarah Wasagali Kanaabi, commended president Museveni for recognizing the energy sector as one of the priority sectors to support the country’s socio-economic transformation.
She said because of this support, we now have a condussive and enabling environment that has attracted local and foreign direct investment into the electricity sub- sector estimated at Shs7trillion by 2021 and is expected to grow more.