March 26, 2009 / 6:54 AM / 11 years ago

Uganda power sector loses $50 mln annually -W.Bank

KAMPALA, March 26 (Reuters) - Uganda’s power sector loses some $50 million annually due to distribution and transmission losses on its electrical grid, the World Bank said.

The east African nation has seen steady growth over the last five years, averaging 7.9 percent, but power remains an issue since the country cannot regularly produce enough energy to meet its peak-time demand.

“The existing generation capacity is not sufficient to meet the electrical energy demand ... (and) the system losses are high,” Paul Baringanire, power engineer at the World Bank, told Reuters.

Baringanire said late on Wednesday that Uganda’s system losses total about 40 percent of the possible revenues while the international average is around 15-20 percent.

“If they were able to reduce to near prudent practices, they’d be able to save about $50 million per annum,” he said.

Distribution losses, which account for the bulk of the 40 percent, were mostly because of theft, he said. “The rest of the distribution losses is due to a dilapidated network.”

Uganda also lost from transmission inefficiencies, he said.

The country has an installed generation capacity of 340 MW against peak demand of 380 MW, according to World Bank figures.

The finance ministry said last year that shortfalls in power supply continued to hurt the economy, increasing costs for manufacturers and other businesses.

The manufacturing sector contributes around 7 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product annually, the ministry says. (Reporting by Jack Kimball)

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