Private sector experiences in managing energy projects in Uganda: the case of West Nile Rural Electrification Company
Okao, Michael Dunston
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The study focused on the managerial experiences of private companies in managing public energy projects under the Public-Private Partnership arrangements (PPPs) in Uganda, taking the case of the Nyagak hydro power project undertaken by the West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO). The objectives of the study were to examine the rationale behind the privatization of management of the Nyagak energy project in Uganda - issues, goals and objectives of the project; to establish the managerial effectiveness of the energy project; to identify the challenges affecting the Nyagak Hydro-Energy Project; and to establish the mechanisms that can enhance the effectiveness of the project. The findings show that the project has not exhibited significant innovations expected of the private sector. The private Public Partnership (PPP) has not significantly enhanced the reliability of electricity and has not effectively addressed the shortfall of commercial energy in the West Nile region and there is no tangible evidence to have reduced budgetary constraints to the government as shown by the provision of services to the people of West Nile. The findings show that the challenges appear to be circumstantial, structural and managerial. The study concludes that the Nyagak Hydro-Energy Project is not at all effective. Various challenges including low technical capacity and managerial expertise seriously affect the Nyagak Hydro- Energy Project. The study recommends that the government institutes strategies to scale up rural access to energy services; set up a strong legal framework for the reforms in monitoring and regulation of operations. Areas of high commercial risk, such as distribution, should be tackled first to create confidence in the market. The study further recommends public awareness-raising on issues such as tariff setting; investment programmes.