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World Bank boosts energy sector with $16 million grant

World Bank boosts energy sector with $16 million grant

Freetown, June (SLENA) – The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Khelfala Marah and the World Bank Country Director, Francis Ato Brown, last week signed a $ 16 million grant agreement with the World Bank under the Infrastructure Development Fund Energy Access Project at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

In his statement during the signing ceremony, the Finance minister commended the World Bank for its support to the Government of Sierra Leone, adding that the project will benefit the entire country especially Freetown in enhancing the supply of electricity through NPA.

He said the event marked a turning point in the energy sector of Sierra Leone, noting that infrastructural development is a cornerstone of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s vision, stressing further that in order to turn Sierra Leone around energy must be improved and maintained.

The minister pointed out that the key component of the grant will be for loss reduction in the network and expressed hope that the National Power Authority will do as much as possible to ensure that the network will provide within the city and that it will also enhance commercial component of the operations of the NPA to ensure that additional Pre-Paid meters are provided for, while noting that the commercial anchor within the National Power Authority is enhanced.

He also spoke about other components in the agreement which has to do with rural domestication which he said was very close to the heart of His Excellency the president.

On his part, the World Bank Country Director, Francis Ato Brown, expressed delight in signing the grant agreement under infrastructure on behalf of the World Bank Group.

 He said the event marked an important milestone in the World Bank Group’s re- engagement in the energy sector aimed at promoting sustainable growth in Sierra Leone under the Government’s Agenda for prosperity, adding that it further exemplifies the strong potential for designing and financing initiatives in close cooperation among development partners and country counterparts to address critical developmental priorities.

“In this context, we wish to thank the British Government for its funding support from DFID through the Sierra Leone Infrastructure Development Fund and the continuous cooperation from the National Power Authority and the Ministries of Energy and Finance and Economic Development which he said have been critical for ensuring the success of the project preparation and approval.”

Ato Brown maintained that overcoming the monumental challenges of improving access and quality of power supply is of critical importance for enhancing economic transformation in Sierra Leone, pointing out that the USD 16 million project aims at reducing losses in electricity supply in the city by investing in the rehabilitation of critical components of NPA’s network, which is the most urgent step to provide for and expanded and more reliable electricity supply.

This he said will improve the commercial performance of the NPA through the supply and installation of a business information system and metering equipment at the Authority which will help raise collection rates and overall commercial performance of the utility.

“The project will contribute to improving access to electricity in rural areas through a pilot program for installing PV systems in schools and hospitals in one village in each of the 14 administrative districts in the country,” he said.

Concluding, the World Bank Director said the project lays solid foundation for expanding electricity services to the people of Sierra Leone and commercial entities and provide technical assistance to NPA in the areas of project management and system planning and operation which he said will enhance the sector for increased public and more importantly private sector investments.


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