Chief Minister Negotiates with Karpowership Group CEO in Turkey

Chief Minister, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh.jpg

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In order to resolve the ongoing energy crisis in Sierra Leone, the Chief Minister, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, spearheaded a delegation to Turkey on Saturday, May 4, 2024. The delegation’s primary objective was to negotiate terms of the current contract with Karpowership group, led by CEO and COO Zeynep Harezi.

The visit aimed to finalize conditions of the Karpowership agreement, particularly focusing on establishing fixed terms and addressing concerns regarding the “take and pay” model. This model ensures payment only for consumable electricity, a crucial aspect in ensuring uninterrupted power supply for the people of Sierra Leone.

The negotiation follows a critical setback in the country’s energy sector, with Karpowership halting its power generation activities in Freetown due to unresolved debt amounting to over $40 million. This suspension led to significant power outages, impacting daily life and essential services in the capital city.

Deputy Minister of Finance 1, Kadiatu Allie, disclosed in a recent press briefing that the Ministry has consistently made payments to Karpowership, totaling $36 million over the past six to seven months. These payments encompass outstanding debts and monthly bills, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to meeting its electricity obligations.

Karpowership had been a significant contributor to Sierra Leone’s energy landscape since 2020, providing around 65 megawatts of power generation capacity, meeting 80% of the country’s total electricity demand. However, prolonged nonpayment prompted the company to suspend most of its operations, exacerbating the energy crisis.

Amidst negotiations, some progress has been made. Currently, Karpowership provides 30MW of electricity to Freetown, a significant reduction from the previous supply. This reduction underscores the urgent need for financial stability and resolution of payment issues to ensure continuous power supply.

Chief Minister, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, emphasized the Government’s commitment to resolving the energy crisis through immediate reforms and sustainable strategies. Measures include disbanding the Boards of EDSA and EGTC, engaging in honest discussions with energy providers and exploring investments for infrastructure upgrades.

He highlighted the impacts of global geopolitical developments on fuel prices, affecting Sierra Leone’s economy. Both parties have agreed to strengthen cooperation and take necessary measures to mitigate negative impacts, including making payments and coordinating efforts for sustainable electricity supply.

Looking forward, the Chief Minister expressed hope in exploring improvements and additional investments for the upgrade of transmission grid facilities, aiming to increase energy capacity and expedite energy transition to reduce carbon emissions and ensure reliable supply for Sierra Leone.

He emphasized the human aspect of the negotiations, recognizing the shared goal of making positive changes for the betterment of all citizens.


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