As Chief Minister Promises to Deliver…   Government to Focus on Addressing Energy Challenges Instead of Making Unfulfilled Promises

Chief Minister, Dr.David Moinina Sengeh.jpg

By Foday Moriba Conteh

An illustrious Political Analyst recently averred that the current ruling SLPP Government, headed by President Julius Maada Bio, is unconsciously digging its own political grave by seemingly trivializing addressing an essential service that is so dear to many Sierra Leoneans: Electricity Supply. He underscored that the Laissez Faire and lackadaisical way in which the Government is responding to the energy challenges, which many are currently disgusted with, could be politically suicidal having the tendency to paint it negatively and reinforce emerging criticisms of not being fit for purpose or not equal to its mandate. The Political Analyst stressed that reliable energy supply is one thing that should not be joked with by any political establishment.

What, in the estimation of this medium, is crystal clear is that most of the citizenry, especially residents of Freetown, are not inclined to presently believe any political promise of any improvement within the energy sector so very pretty soon. From what was also learnt, past promises made by the Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA), to a very large extent, turned out to be unfulfilled.

Of late, another promise has emanated from the Chief Minister, Dr.David Moinina Sengeh that the SLPP Led Government will deliver on its energy access promise to the citizenry.

In his usual Diary Updates, the Chief Minister stated that one of the first papers that the Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, brought to Cabinet during President Bio’s second term in office was a 108MW Western Area Power Generation Project. He continued that as recent as on the 17th April, 2024, the project has secured an additional $292M from the US Government’s DFC.

Dr. Sengeh also revealed that recently, while in Togo, they also pushed the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development to finalize a $40M financing adding that the landmark investment by Milele Energy & TCQ Power will help to solve the country’s electricity challenges. He also maintained that within the next two years, close to 150 communities will have solar energy.

While Dr. Sengeh’s optimism may offer a glimmer of hope, doubts persist regarding the Government’s ability to translate promises into meaningful action. Many are wondering if the funds he cited will make any significant impact. Such a doubt, laced in pessimism, could be expressed against the backdrop that research has so far disclosed that, between 2016 and 2019, the Government of Sierra Leone received up to US$230 Million from the World Bank to improve electricity supply in Freetown (…).

US $12,345,000 was for electricity sector reform support as part of the US$44 Million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Government of Sierra Leone Threshold Program that ended in 2021(…).

The point being made here is that, if previous funding of such magnitude were secured and there was not much improvement what is the assurance that the ones the Chief Minister is now talking about will make any significant difference in the Energy Sector, with particular reference to avail Freetown reliable and dependable electricity supply.

For now what is known is that many residents of Freetown are calling on the SLPP Led Government, particularly the Ministry of Finance, to do all within its reach to honour its debt to Karpowership instead of continuing making promises that are yet to materialize or felt. Residents are demanding concrete solutions over rhetoric and according to a cross section of them, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Others have blasted that instead of Government officials misplacing State Resources on things that are not much of priorities, like frequent overseas travelling, bloated wage bills and for some to display opulent lifestyles in a poverty ridden nation, prudently it is a basic thing like seriously trying to address the energy problem that should be given due and primary consideration and one way is for the Ministry of Finance to find ways of settling the outstanding payment to Karpowership while pursuing other alternatives.

For now what is certain is that Freetown has been plunged into darkness as EDSA has recently indicated that because of teething challenges that it is undergoing and trying to address, it has reduced the amount of electricity it has been supplying to residents of Freetown.

Lamentably, this despondent information came in the heels of a reduction of electricity supply by Karpowership from 65MW to 5MW over Government, through the Ministry of Finance’s unfulfilled promise to honour an outstanding debt to the service provider totaling $40 Million.


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