The government of Uganda has canceled a plan to build a 360Megawatt Hydro Power dam, at the iconic Murchison falls along rive Nile, Tourism Minister Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu has confirmed.
Kamuntu said: “We as government have decided that there will be no works going on at the tourism facilities in order to preserve nature and develop the tourism industry.” He made the remarks at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on Tuesday.
Kamuntu added: “We must have electricity, but we must also have foreign exchange from tourism. It should however be noted that Murchison falls National Park covers 3,893 square kilometers and it is a major tourist attraction.”
Kamuntu noted that Murchison falls is one of the Uganda’s biggest tourist attractions, with an estimated 100,000 tourists coming into the country every year to see it. Because of this, Kamuntu said the country earns US$72 billion, making it a vital asset worth preservation.
“Hydro power is very good but now you have to argue as an economist, could it be generated elsewhere, there is need to transform from peasantry to modernity, tourism is the major interest to achieve this.”
About two months ago, a number of people including the Speaker of Parliament expressed anger and disappointment at plans by the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) to solicit views regarding an application by a South African company to build a power dam at the site.
Ben Ntale, the Managing Director of Ape Treks Uganda, a tour agency, expressed contentment that the government had made the right decision.
He said: “This is what we’ve been waiting for. We can find others sources of energy such as from solar, but we cannot find another Murchison Falls.”