A multimillion-dollar infrastructure project on Bugala Island in the Ugandan portion of Lake Victoria, comprising roads, marine transport, power and clean water supply will be completed in May, officials have said.
Kalangala Infrastructure Services (KIS), the firm developing the $50 million project in a joint venture with the Ugandan government, has completed the construction of a solar hybrid power station and marine transport facility and residents of the region are already accessing the services.
The clean water supply project and the 66km road on the island will be completed in May, said John Opiro, KIS managing director.
Mr Opiro said two ferries, MV Pearl and MV Ssese, with a capacity of 20 vehicles and 206 passengers each, are now fully operational between Bukakata and Luuku, whereas at least 2,000 users have received power connections.
Initially, travellers to Bugala Island — the largest of the 84 islands that form Ssese Islands in the northwestern part of Lake Victoria with a population of 32,000 — used MV Kalangala from Nakiwogo landing site in Entebbe. The Kalangala Town Council supplied 485KW of thermal power to the nearby residents.
The KIS project is financed through equity and debt from InfraCo, Nedbank from South Africa, the Uganda Development Corporation and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund. The United States Agency for International Development (USAid), the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), and Guarant Company are the other financiers of the project.
According to KIS and government agreements on the project, the road and ferry services will be offered to the users for free for 15 years but residents will pay monthly charges for water and electricity.
Water and power tariffs will be regulated by the Directorate of Water Resources and the Electricity Regulatory Authority respectively.
Works Minister John Byabagambi said the new services will lower the costs of doing business, increase productivity, and attract private investment on the island.
“We believe that these infrastructure developments will encourage private investors, tourism, and general improvement of the people’s standards of living on this Island,” Mr Byabagambi said.