February 19, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of Parliament Tuesday ratified the Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea interconnection loan agreement totaling three hundred and twenty-three million euros.
Presenting the loan agreement for ratification, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Alhaji Foday B.L. Mansaray, said the loan would help finance the West African Power Pool (WAPP) initiative that is aimed at improving electricity generation and transmission in the sub-region.
He disclosed that Sierra Leone would repay approximately 110 million euros of the loan, which would be repaid over a period of twenty-five years, with a grace period of seven years and an interest rate of 1.95% per annum.
He said the project involves the installation of 1,360km of 225kv transmission line from Man in Cote d’Ivoire to Linsan in Guinea, through Yekepa, Buchanan and Mano in Liberia, Nzerekore in Guinea, Kenema, Bikongor, Bumbuna, Yiben and Kamakwie in Sierra Leone.
The minister stated that the project, which would initially export 83 megawatts of electricity from Cote d’Ivoire, would promote the development of hydropower resources in the four countries, thus positioning them as net exporters to the WAPP interconnected system.
He added that the project would also significantly enhance access to rural electrification of communities along the route of the line through a shield-wire mechanism.
Minister Mansaray said when the project is completed, Sierra Leone would benefit from 27 megawatts of energy from Cote d’Ivoire, which he said would cause the reduction of tariff charge and a motivation to the country to develop her hydro potential as there will be a vehicle – transmission line – to export excess power.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Energy, Hon. Sulaiman M. Sisay of Constituency 33 in the Bombali district, said the project was welcoming because it could provide great benefit to the people of Sierra Leone.
On his part, Hon. Sualiho M. Koroma of Constituency 67 in the Bo district said energy had been a major hindrance to development in the country, and expressed hope that the initiative would help boost the energy sector.
He urged the Ministry of Finance to also put great premium on water as more should be done to revitalize the water sector, especially in rural communities.