Lawmakers meet with Energy Ministry officials
Members of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Energy and Power last Thursday met with officials from the Ministry of Energy and Power and the Strategic Policy Unit, to discuss issues affecting the ministry and the country’s ailing energy sector.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Bliss Osho-Williams of the ruling All Peoples Congress Party (APC) said the ministry is a strategic player in the country’s development agenda because without energy development will be undermined despite ongoing work in other sectors.
He said the purpose of the meeting was to get first hand information from ministry officials about the state and status of the energy sector because the public was quite dissatisfied with the performance of the ministry as most part of Freetown and the country lack electricity supply, and that as representatives of the people they are concerned and the problem addressed as soon as possible.
Energy Adviser at the Strategic Policy Unit at State House, Engineer Mustapha Kargbo, said he now supervises the ministry since the dismissal of the minister and his deputy. He told lawmakers that procurement activities have been suspended and following a management meeting he had directed staff at the ministry to adhere to ‘performance reporting’, wherein routine activities will be reported to him.
He said the interim leadership at the ministry was in compliance with the directive as the daily performance reports have ensured that no excess money is being spent to generate power as was previously the case.
He said the interim management has purchased new transformers to replace the damaged ones in Makeni, which has been installed, while revenue collected as at Wednesday, 5th March, was Le1.8 billion.
He pleaded with members of the public to support the ministry by promptly paying their electricity bills as non-payment of bills is major issue undermining the performance of the the ministry.
On his part, Acting Permanent Secretary, Osman Conteh said the ministry has initiated a new system of ‘Change Management’ which affects personnel and is geared towards enhancing the technical ability and capacity of especially managerial staff, particularly in respect of the Bumbuna hydroelectric power.
He said many consumers utilise power without wanting to pay for the service and many crave for affordable and sustainable power supply. He said the ministry was determined to address the issue of power outage as only 1.12 megawatts and 1.6megawatts are supplied to Freetown, Bo and Makeni respectively.
He said the National Power Authority pays Bumbuna Le. 1 billion every week for hydroelectric power generated for consumption by the city’s more than one million inhabitants, many of whom have to find other means to generate power supply using alternative means.
Just few weeks ago, State House announced the sacking of the Minster of Energy and Power, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker and his Deputy, Martin Bash-Kamara. It is the third such sacking since President Ernest Koroma took office in 2007, with a pledge to fix the country’s epileptic power supply.