Rwanda’s government has warned Indian engineering, procurement and contracting company Angelique International that is must complete a 28 MW hydropower project by October 31 or face penalties.

Minister for Infrastructure James Musoni imposed the deadline yesterday after Angelique International failed to finish the project by April 19.

However, after Mr Musoni toured the Muhanga-based site yesterday with Ajay Krishna Goyal, president of Angelique International, to assess the dam turbines, reservoirs, diversion tunnel and intake structure, the minister said the project should be online by the new date.

Musoni said: “There were a few technical problems but Angelique has been able to sort them out. They are confident that they will be able to transmit 28 MW from the dam on the national electricity grid, and this will tremendously benefit all Rwandans.”

If the new deadline is not respected, Musoni said his office was in the process of signing a contract with the firm, which will stipulate the way forward, including punitive measures for whichever side found in fault.

Hydropower project

The Nyabarongo hydopower Dam in Muhanga District, which has cost US$100 million since work began in 2009, will operate two turbines each generating 14 MW.

With roughly two months remaining before deadline day, Angelique International has beefed up construction works at the site, and is set to inject another US$10 million to make final touches as well as to complete the power transmitters.

Lack of rainwater

However, one challenge remains. According to Krishna, low levels of rainfall this year have affected the dam’s capacity because the volume of water passing through the turbine has been too low.

“Rainfall has been a challenge because without it, the dam cannot generate electricity. Hopefully, rainfall will increase in these months and the run-of-river will be stronger,” Krishna said.

The government seeks to have 563 megawatts on the national grid to ensure that at least 70 per cent of households are connected to electricity by 2017.