By Kebba Jeffang
The Vice President of The Gambia Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang on November 8th, laid the foundation stone for the new 20MW power project at the Brikama power plant.
The project aims to address the perennial energy crisis of the National Water and Electricity Company, NAWEC.
“When we assumed power in January, we have vowed to end this waiting period. Today, my government is taking giant strides to deliver that promise. We are aware of our citizen’s sufferings and long painful waits for completion of projects.
For many years, the energy crisis, has led many to lose faith in the commitment of leaders in this country, for failure to improving the lives of the people and we know we are not an exception to this,” says the Vice President.
She assured that Government will respect the social contract of providing reliable and affordable electricity and portable drinking water to all, without fail.
“We prioritize Energy in our agenda because we know it is a foremost concern for the people. It is the basis for wealth creation, employment and improvement on social service delivery. We shall leave no stone unturned to implement what the people want. We shall never relent in this crusade,” she said.
The Minister of Petroleum and Energy Fafa Sanyang, said the Brikama Power Extension Project is the biggest single generation project ever undertaken by NAWEC and the Government of The Gambia.
“It comprises of two generating units of 10MW each. The project is funded by the Islamic Development Bank, IDB, on a combination of lease and loan financing agreements,” he disclosed.
He said the project is expected to last for a period of 18 months; that it is also expected to significantly address the acute generation gap of NAWEC, leading to excessive power rationing.
“Once completed, the 20MW additional capacity will enable NAWEC to ensure adherence to maintenance schedules of other engines thereby reducing pressure on them. We are also confident that NAWEC will make significant reduction on their maintenance cost with these engines in place,” he said.
He said Government’s policy objectives for the energy sector will continue to be driven by measures that will ensure the financial viability of the nation’s only Utility Services Company, diversification of the sources of energy through the promotion of renewable energy, among others. Sanyang stated that government intends to promote private sector investment through Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and appreciates the attendance of each and every one of those present at the ceremony.
The NAWEC Managing Director Baba Fatajo acknowledged the disenchantment and dissatisfaction customers faced with “this unfortunate situation which is the result of a culmination of inherited factors ranging from obsolete infrastructure, due to lack of proper and adequate investments, over the past several years and inadequate capacity, among others.’’
He disclosed that NAWEC is presently using 45MW of generation capacity in the Greater Banjul Area compared to at least the 70 MW demand, making black outs inevitable.