Consultant on the Pwalugu Multi-purpose Dam, Prof David Millar, has revealed that it is imperative to resort to loans, donor-funding and partnership instead of relying on government.
According to him, the delay in the construction of the multi-puporse dam is a worry because communication isn’t going well with regards to the project. He indicated that it is a problem because the project might not be completed within the promised time frame since it is a government funded project of about $993 million.
“This is one dam that is promising to invest in 25, 000 hectares of land and it’s not a small thing. It would have turned this problem of food unavailability to the second cycle institutions and also market pricing… So, we really have to find the money to do it and I think the best option is to go for a donor funding or a loan or some partnership and not rely on GoG to do this.”Professor David Millar
Prof Millar noted that considering the current economic situation, it is impossible that the project can happen within the stipulated four years construction period. He explained that it will be prudent on the part of government to communicate clearly by letting the citizenry know that situations are not the same and that“externalities and internalities militates” against it being constructed in four years.
Expounding on the exact cause of delay, Prof Millar iterated that it’s “basically financial” and because if it’s not captured in the budget, it will be impossible to execute it. He emphasized that one cannot spend when it has not been featured in the budget.
“So, I don’t know why there is an attempt to still communicate that it is not a problem… So, next year’s budget, we might see something there; but beyond that it’s a budgetary issue. It’s not a design problem, the locational part has been dealt with extensively and it’s a welcome project.”Professor David Millar
The Consultant of the Pwalugu multi-purpose dam project bemoaned the lack of emphasis placed on the irrigation and agriculture relevance of the dam. He stated that it is a real necessity for whichever government that comes into power to deal with irrigation systems.
“… Any government that wants to increase food sustainability and food security has to invest in irrigation.”Professor David Millar
Amplify agriculture and irrigation relevance of Pwalugu dam
Commenting on the significance of the Pwalugu dam in helping to address annual flooding occasioned by the Bagre Dam spillage, Prof Millar revealed that “technically, you don’t use a dam to control a flood”. He indicated that “dikes” are used instead to control floods.
Prof Millar expressed the need for the purpose of the dam to more tailored to its agricultural benefits to the country. He further expressed misgivings about whether the dam’s capacity to generate electricity will equally take off.
Until it’s built, Prof Millar noted that he has not also “seen any sign of electricity being factored into the current development” although the project is sitting with ECG, a phenomenon he describes as “another problem”.
“… We should rather amplify the irrigation and the agriculture bit… Then, I see a bit of the management of the spillage from Bagre, but it doesn’t cure the mischief at all. Because what will happen is that the dam wall will backflow and the backflow will now displace a lot of farmlands, communities and a lot of settlements and infrastructure… So, the dam itself, by way of managing flood, it will be a dicey balance but for agriculture, yes.Professor David Millar