The State Minister for Energy, Dr Albert Butare, Saturday declared that the efforts his Ministry and other partners have invested in rural electrification will yield 37,000 connections by the end of the year.
He revealed this during his visit to Nyagatare District where STEG, a Tunisian based firm, was contracted to transmit electricity in the area as part of the holistic rural electrification process.
‘‘We are optimistic that we shall hit our goal of 37,000 connections by the end of the year because it’s a target we gave ourselves if we are to achieve the overall ambition of 250,000 connections by 2012,’’ Butare
So far over 5,000 households in Nyagatare have been connected by STEG and he expressed optimism that by the end of the project in June, they would have made more connections.
In a recent visit by President Paul Kagame to the area, many residents complained of not being connected yet wires pass over of their houses to connect other places.
“It happened as a coincidence, that a place where we had arranged to visit and review the progress of the electrification process, is where the President visited and received with the same concerns we have been working on to solve. We are going to do our best to see that people get electricity in their houses,’’ added Butare.
Nyagatare is one of the fastest growing districts in the country, but the absence of electricity has been undermining its development, whereby many service facilities like health centres have been struggling with generators and solar energy which have not been consistent.
The Mayor of Nyagatare Robert Kanshemeza commended the efforts by the government and other development partners to see that Nyagatare gets electricity.
“People in this district are hard working and strive towards innovativeness and development, but have been for long undermined by lack of power. So with it at their disposal, a lot is going to happen in a progressive sense,” said Kashemeza.
STEG had been contracted to transmit electricity to the area, but because of the recent pleas from the residents, it was given an extra task of household connections, since people have even expressed capacity and willingness to meet the connection costs and the bills.
Among the areas that the Minister tasked STEG to connect before their contract ends are Mukama, Rwempasha, Nkenkye and Gahurura. These areas are also known for having taken considerable strides towards development compared to others.
The Minister also advised leaders to encourage people to reside in estates (Imidugudu) instead of settling in isolation which makes it difficult and expensive for power connections.
After STEG, other contractors will be hired to take on the power connection projects until the rural community is covered.
The rural electrification process was undertaken by the government in partnership with the World Bank as the leading donor. They have sunk $70m in the project.