The Ugandan parliament has approved the construction of the US$500M Bujagali hydro project on the river Nile by US-based AES Corporation. Parliament approved a government guarantee underwriting electricity purchases from the 250MW dam by the state-owned utility, Uganda Electricity Board (UEB). The approval allows UEB to sign a power purchase agreement with AES.

The proposal to construct the dam has been criticised by environmentalists who sought a court order to prevent construction, saying it would destroy beautiful countryside and displace families. The case was dismissed by a Ugandan court in August 1999. Meanwhile, Uganda’s National Environment and Management Authority has approved the environmental impact statement report for the project. The certificate of approval was issued after six months of intensive debate.

Uganda currently suffers daily power cuts as demand for electricity outstrips supply.