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WAPP/ECOWAS launch a $21.8 M electricity program

WAPP/ECOWAS launch a $21.8 M electricity program

Friday 9th May 2014 was another milestone for Sierra Leone’s energy sector as a delegation of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and ECOWAS launched the Emergency Electric Power Supply Program at the Ministry of Energy, Electricity House in Freetown.

Addressing the seven man delegation of ECOWAS and WAPP, Professor Strasser-King who is the senior Director of the strategic and Policy Unit (SPU) at State House and chairman of the occasion, welcomed all present and expressed delight for the grant. The Professor who advises the president was quick to give a flashback on the nation’s electricity status adding that the launching of this grant and the program  to integrate and sustain the day to day running of the National Power Authority (NPA) is in line with the Agenda for Prosperity. He commended the present administration led by the new Permanent secretary – Madam Zainab Buya-Kamara which he said is working hard despite the absence of political leaders (Ministers). The chairman also stressed on the sustainability of the program as he stated that sponsors are normally not happy when programs expected to last for long are only short lived.

In his statement, the ECOWAS Commissioner of Energy and Mines – Dr. Morlaye  Bangoura stated that because of the crisis in the sub-region, ECOWAS decided to support three programs for poor countries. So, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Mali got these grants for Emergency Electric Power Supply Programs adding that the delegation had launched this program in The Gambia and Mali and now in Sierra Leone to do the same. He ended that it is expected that after this launching, the energy sector in Sierra Leone will improve considerably.

The secretary general of WAPP – Ing.  Amadu Diallo thanked ECOWAS for this effort and stated that the expansion of electricity in the country promotes all other development drives in a nation. Diallo noted that electricity has been the president’s priority and so government is exploiting electricity supply from all sources like hydro power, solar, bioenergy and so on. The Engineer expressed optimism that the eight engines of NPA will be running smoothly.

In launching the grant and program on behalf of the president of Sierra Leone, Dr. Monty Jones who is a special adviser to president Koroma said he was extremely moved to launch this 21.8 million U.S dollars program at the Ministry of Energy. He said electricity is no doubt a long term plan for the Agenda for Prosperity which cuts across all sectors. Dr. Jones stressed on the proper handling and sustainability of the program. After the launching, Ing. Mustapha Kargbo made a meaningful contribution by first advising that the grant from ECOWAS/WAPP is not for any new project in the Energy sector but to augment the daily running of NPA for proper service delivery. According to him, it will not solve the problems of those without light at the moment but to sustain the effort of NPA. He ended by admonishing defaulters of NPA operations that stringent punishment will meet any one that breaks or tries to beat the system.

By Ahmed Fonike.

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