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Phase II of the Urgent Improvement of Electric Power Supply System In Freetown

Phase II of the Urgent Improvement of Electric Power Supply System In Freetown

Keynote address by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma at the commissioning of the 10 MW thermal plant, NPA Power House, Kingtom

Courtesies: In my inaugural address to Parliament on 5th October 2007, I pledged my Government’s commitment to provide reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity to the nation in general and to Freetown, the nation’s capital, in particular.  This commitment is based on my personal conviction that as a nation, we can not turn the economy around and improve the standard of living of our people without an adequate energy infrastructure. Without energy we cannot attract quality investors; without energy we cannot turn around the private sector; without energy, we cannot improve the employment situation. It is for these reasons that my government puts premium on energy in our Agenda for Change.

Soon after assuming power, I established the Presidential Energy Emergency Task Force in October 2007.  In December 2007, less than 100 days after I assumed Office, I commissioned the 15 MW Emergency Rental Power Plant next door.  By that single action, the availability of electricity in Freetown was increased by 300%.

In June last year, I commissioned the first phase of this project named “Urgent Improvement of Electric Power Supply System In Freetown” The project involved the construction of a medium voltage transmission line from the NPA Power House here in Kingtom to Wilberforce via Congo Cross and then onto the IMATT area at Regent.  Additionally, Phase I also involved the construction of a substation in the IMATT area plus the procurement of the equipment and materials required for the maintenance of the lines.

Five months ago, in November 2009, I commissioned the 50 MW Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project.  That marked another very significant milestone in the development of the country’s energy infrastructure.  Freetown and its environs have realized a marked improvement in the availability of electricity since then.  “Bumbuna Light” as it is commonly referred to, is now the only source of grid electricity in Freetown.  Additionally, the use of the Bumbuna Hydro Power has meant the reduction in foreign exchange expenditure that we had previously incurred to procure fuel oil for the thermal plant.

Today, barely five months after commissioning Bumbuna, we are gathered here to witness and celebrate the completion of yet another energy project – Phase II of the “Urgent Improvement of Electric Power Supply System In Freetown.”  The project contractors are ITOCHU Corporation and Dai Nippon Construction Consortium of Japan. 

I have also been informed that members of the National Power Authority staff have received training from the contractors on the operations and maintenance of the Plant.  Let me urge these and the rest of the NPA staff to use these acquired knowledge and skills to ensure that the plant is operated and maintained in accordance with international best practice.   This Plant should not be allowed to deteriorate in the manner that the plants in the main power house next door have deteriorated.  This is a national asset that must be taken care of very well.  It is the least that your fellow citizens can expect from you as public servants.

This project has been funded by a grant provided by the Government and

People of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, commonly know as JICA.

Let me, through His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, thank the Government and people of Japan who have been very helpful and generous in supporting our infrastructural development.  Their support has not only been in the energy sector. It extends to the water supply sector as well, with the construction of a water supply plant in Rokupr and the conducting of feasibility studies in Kambia.  The Government of Japan is also providing support in the Agriculture, Education and Health sectors through JICA.   

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me also applaud the staff of the JICA Office in Sierra Leone, the Project Consultants and Contractors for their dedication and tireless efforts in ensuring that the project is completed on time.

I also want to congratulate the Ministry of Energy & Water Resources and the National Power Authority for this great achievement. I hope that you will secure this achievement through continued hard work, greater commitment to efficiency and dedication to service.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, with great confidence that we are on track to fulfill our commitments on energy, I hereby, on behalf of the people of S

I thank you all for your attention

God bless us all and may God bless Sierra Leone.

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