With support from Uganda Energy Credit Capitalization Company (UECCC), Centenary Bank has launched a power connection loan that will benefit more than 100,000 people in Soroti.
The power connection loan will be used for wiring premises, connection costs, purchase of equipment and accessories and labor for installation of new connections to the hydro-power grids and or conversions from diesel- powered to hydro-power connections.
The programme has been launched by Soroti District Chairperson, Mr George Michael Egunyu at Soroti Hotel in Soroti District.
Mr Egunyu said the scheme is in line with Government’s Vision 2040, which highlights energy, particularly electricity, as a key driver to social economic transformation.
“Government recognizes that energy is a key catalyst of development and has prioritized supply of adequate reliable and affordable electricity in the national development plans,” he said.
UECCC Director in charge of Transaction Execution Roy Nyamutale Baguma said the level of access in Uganda is still at 20% because most new applicants have challenges meeting their internal wiring and the upfront connection costs, adding that the programme is expected to create more access resulting into new job opportunities for the people of Soroti, neighboring districts and the whole country through enhanced enterprise development.
Centenary Bank’s Manager Consumer Lending Abdul Kyanika said customers will access the power connection loans at 15% interest rate over a maximum duration of two years with flexible repayment terms through its 67 branches.
“At Centenary Bank, we pride ourselves in transforming lives through providing affordable financial services to Ugandans. We are therefore proud to be part of this program as it is in line with our mission of providing appropriate financial services especially, microfinance, to all people in Uganda, particularly in rural areas, in a sustainable manner and in accordance with the law,” Kyanika said.
“The Bank has also been financing the renewable energy sector by extending solar loans to households and businesses for the last four years. This programme is an opportunity for the Bank to expand financing to the sector,” he said.
Centenary Bank signed a tripartite agreement with UECCC and WENRECO in June 2014 to increase electricity outreach in West Nile. The connection loan pilot test was launched in August 2014 and registered satisfactory performance.
“Following the success of the pilot, UECCC extended additional financial support to enable Centenary Bank extend credit to its customers all over the country.” added Mr Baguma
The government, which has made enhancing power generation a key policy priority, is looking to supply adequate power at affordable prices. The Government plans to achieve a rural electrification rate of at least 26 per cent by 2022.
Uganda’s per capita power consumption, about 215 kilowatt-hours (kWh), is among the lowest in the world yet the world average is 2,975 per capita. About 80% of the people in Uganda are not connected to the grid.
More than 12 districts have already been connected to the grid under power connection loans. These include, among others; Arua, Nebbi, Koboko, Packwach, Angal, Parombo, Panyimur, Nyapea, Warr, Zeu, and Zombo.
By Joshua Mutale