By Jariatu Bangura
Lawmakers yesterday ratified an agreement between the government of Sierra Leone and CEC Africa Sierra Leone Limited for the purchase of a 128 megawatt power plant to electrify Freetown.
In his presentation, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Franklyn Bai Kargbo, said government signed the agreement for the construction of a 128mw power plant and that its capacity would be enhanced gradually over a period of four years, in line with the renovation of the electric grid by the World Bank and other donors.
He said CEC Africa SL is an independent power producer and that the agreement was consistent with and promoting the economic agenda for change of the government.
He revealed that CEC company would sell power exclusively to the successor to the National Power Authority (NPA), adding that Freetown is currently in need of 100mw of power, while the available production is 50mw.
He said the project would enhance the power needs of Freetown within 18 months, noting that with the growing economic activity, an additional demand of up to 200mw is forecasted in the city over the next five years, thus the power plant, combined with Bumbuna, Addax, JICA and NPA power generation plants, would be able to meet the additional demand.
He said that the project represents a US$220m investment in the economy and would create 200 jobs during construction works, plus additional jobs during operations.
A local content procurement and employment section has been negotiated to ensure that Sierra Leonean companies and workers benefit from the construction works and plants operations, he said.
Sierra Leone People’s Party Minority Whip in Parliament, Hon. Mohamed Sidie Tunis, said the agreement was good and welcoming one as it would provide electricity as well as provide jobs for citizens.
Majority Leader of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu, said electricity is a challenge but that the blame should not be put to the government, bizarrely casting blame on what he said is the nature of structures of houses built and the lack of control on how houses are built.