December 4, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of Parliament yesterday ratified two loan agreements signed between the government of Sierra Leone and the African Development Fund (Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (TRNANSCO CLSG) Electricity networks inter-connection project), amounting to twenty million six hundred and five thousand United State dollars ($20.605,000).
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kaifala Marah, told lawmakers the objective of the project was to construct 1,357km long double circuit voltage (225kv) line to connect the national networks of the four Mano River Union countries, adding that the total cost of the power line is estimated at US$447 million of which Sierra Leone’s contribution would be US$142million.
He said the project would help establish a dynamic electric power market in the West Africa sub-region and secure regular power supply for the participating countries, with a comparative advantage in importing power instead of producing it at high cost using the national systems. He said the project would augment the available electricity supply in the country which is 107mw.
Dr. Marah disclosed that the four countries have jointly entered into an agreement with a regional transmission company known as TRANNSCO-CLSG for the construction, operation and development of the CLSG inter connection line, noting that the company would be charge with the responsibility of implementation and management operations of the regional government electricity project.
Hon. Jusufu B. Mansaray, representing constituency 73 in Bo district, said huge sums of money had been spent in the energy sector but many parts of the country are yet to have access to energy, thus concluding that the energy sector has failed the people, while the amount of money expended on the sector could have boosted other sectors.
He maintained that without solid foundation the electricity sector would not be sustainable and that improved energy should not only benefit the big urban cities but rural towns and villages as well because lack of energy in rural fuels rural-urban migration.
Hon. Kaifala Conteh, representing constituency 98 in the Western Area, said the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ and the post-Ebola recovery strategy of the country need sustainable energy. He said the agreement is timely as it would help the country generate and sell energy to other countries and create more jobs.
He opined that the project could also enhance tax collection as more businesses will invest in the country and help the economy grow.