Minister of Energy Engages CLSG, Assures Government’s Commitment to Commissioning Project in December
The management of the Transco CLSG Power Project has held discussions with the Minister of Energy at the conference hall of the Ministry of Energy and Power on Monday 5th October 2020 in Freetown. The meeting, which also had representatives from the Ministry of Finance, EDSA, EGTC and senior staff of the Ministry of Energy, was geared towards creating the platform for Transco and key stakeholders in the energy sector to interface and for Government to stress its commitment to commissioning the CLSG project in December 2020. Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, underscored the crucial relevance of the meeting, noting that it was meant to be a platform for the exchange of information and ideas in respect of how government was to utilize the CLSG power project. Mr. Sesay added that he was hopeful the CLSG project would start operations in December this year.
The Minister of Energy informed the gathering that government was genuinely committed to operationalizing the CLSG power project with the cities of Bo and Kenema having been identified as first beneficiaries at the initial stage after commissioning. He said he had already given assurances to President Bio that Bo and Kenema would start enjoying power from the project in December.
Mr. Sesay was effusive with praises of Transco, thanking the management for their commitment and dedication to fulfilling the project and for working assiduously to ensure that the project was completed on time. He expressed his satisfaction with work at various substations and the progress made in interconnecting Liberia and Sierra Leone. He assured that government would not renege on its financial commitment to the project.
The Financial Secretary, Sahr Jusu, urged the Ministry of Energy to put modalities in place for the purpose of helping the Ministry of Finance have a clear roadmap in accelerating the disbursement of additional funds for the project. Mr. Jusu assured the Ministry of Energy and Transco that the Ministry of Finance would approve the disbursement of $750,000 as part of government’s commitment to the project. The Financial Secretary went further to disclose that he had held fruitful discussions with representatives from the Ministry of Energy, EDSA and EGTC in respect of having the 161 transmission line up and running. He concluded by saying that the Ministry of Finance would immediately release additional funding for the CLSG project once the PET form was signed and endorsed by the Minister of Energy.
General Manager, Transco, Mohamed Sheriff, heaped praises on the Minister of Energy for his support to the project and the company, adding that the commitment shown by the Minister of Energy has ensured that Sierra Leone was far ahead of other countries in terms of project implementation. He assured that his company was working round the clock to have the project commissioned in December. Mr. Sheriff spoke of how the COVID 19 pandemic negatively impacted work, but praised the Ministry of Finance for being supportive. He however asked that the disbursement of funds be accelerated or expedited so that the completed substations would be operationalized in December.
The Transco General Manager spoke on a wide range of issues including but not limited to the readiness of EDSA and the capacity of the current transmission and distribution lines to absorb the CLSG power ; the relevance of transmission service agreement in line with the power purchase agreement; the issues of capacity charge and contingency liability; exemption of the capacity charge for Sierra Leone; the need to conclude the Power Purchase Agreement on time ; transmission relief on behalf of Transco; and additional financing to pay for maintenance cost and the operations of Transco for three years.
The meeting was a right step in the right direction as it offered the opportunity for different stakeholders to interface and discuss critical issues relating to the CLSG project -a project which is one of the most important projects that the government relies on in its bid to increase access to energy.
By Austine Luseni
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