At the end of March 2020, Uganda went silent, lost in the wilderness of the uncertainty that had rocked the country. President Museveni ordered the closing of schools as a measure to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. That was shortly before he paralyzed most operations in the country by closing the only airport and all land based borders surrounding Uganda.
The entire globe had gone into solitary system to protect their citizens from the virus. Imports suffered as a result. Due to limited movement of people around the globe occasioned by covid-19 contingent measures such as lockdowns, goods that were ordered and expected to arrive in Uganda were delayed. The electricity subsector was among the hardest hit since it relies mostly on imports. The hydro power association of Uganda founded in 2014 consists of 25 members embedded within Uganda National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Alliance (UNREEEA).
Mr Emmy Matovu from the hydro power association narrates that due to over reliance on foreigners and foreign currency by the sector; most of the members of the association were affected when covid-19 lockdown measures were instituted. “Most companies that were in operation, conducting feasibility studies or under construction were set back. Almost 85 per cent were stalled and did not move according to the designated work plan,” he says. In addition, those who were processing funds for projects in Uganda from partners were affected as priorities for funding were shifted to the medical emergency.
The adjustment in funding priorities trickled down to the financial institutions that became hesitant to extend credit thus limiting developmental activities in the sector. Due to the effects of covid-19, project activity was delayed, for example public hearings which are critical before projects commence. The pandemic was a wakeup call for the institutions which now realize the urgent need for digitalization especially meetings and conferences.
By WPAU and HPAU