Gambia: President Barrow expresses concern over power cuts in Gambia

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The Gambian President, Adama Barrow, said he shared concern with many Gambians over the frequent power cuts in the West African country, PANA reported Saturday.

The Gambian leader made the remarks after visiting the country's National Water and Electric Corporation (NAWEC) main power station at Kotu in the country's biggest town of Serre Kunda.

The visit followed periodic updates that the President had been receiving from NAWEC management on improvements to electricity supply across the nation.

"I have been getting updates from NAWEC in my office over the last several months. But as any Gambian living in our country knows, our electricity situation has not been satisfactory.

"I wanted to come to NAWEC’s main generation facility here in Kotu myself, and see what is going on; to hear from staff on the ground, and get a better understanding of the challenges that are keeping us from getting stable and reliable electricity. It is important for the public to realise that I share their concerns about electricity supply," President Barrow said.

NAWEC officials had briefed the President earlier on the state of its old and obsolete generators, which were bought second hand close to 30 years ago.

According to the officials, even at the time of purchase by the former Gambian government, these used machines had already been decommissioned from service before being shipped to The Gambia.

During the visit, President Barrow was informed that NAWEC was working on various projects to boost generation capacity and alleviate the pain being felt by the Gambian public in terms of electricity supply.

The President was shown one of several new generators – a 6.5 megawatt capacity generator, which is in the process of being installed at the Kotu power plant.

It is expected to be fully operational by the end of October. The company will also commission a second new generator at Brikama a month later, and it should be operational by the end of November.

Meanwhile, NAWEC said it  was also implementing a new 11 megawatt generation expansion project at the Kotu Power Station, and this would be completed by the end of December.

Yet another new 8.9 megawatt generator would go into operation in February 2018, after which, officials have assured the President that the country’s current power problems would have been significantly overcome.

"I think my visit was timely. I know that there is a lot of concern out there. People are talking and complaining about electricity. I want them to understand that we are taking this seriously.

"It is important for us to inform  the public about what is being done, and how best we can solve the problem," President Barrow replied when questioned on his impression of the station after the visit.

The Gambia is currently facing acute power shortage leading to frequent electricity black outs across the nation with many businesses and individuals suffering.

Sometimes people go without electricity and water for over eight (8) hours in many parts of the capital, known as “Greater Banjul Area”, and major towns and cities across the country.

The lack of regular power supply across the nation has forced many businesses to buy standby generators, thereby pushing up their production costs and the general prices of goods and services.

The frequent power cuts being experienced in the Gambia, is among the many problems the Barrow Government inherited from the 22 years of dictatorship of former President Yahya Jammeh.
-0- PANA MLJ/vAO 30Sept2017

30 september 2017 16:29:01

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