July 1, 2016 By Alusine Sesay
Counselor in the Embassy of Japan in Sierra Leone and entourage yesterday inspected two projects supported by the Japanese Government through the Japanse International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to bolster the energy sector.
The inspection kicked-off at the Capacity Development for Maintaining Power Supply Facilities project at the Kingtom power house in Freetown, where a 10 megawatt power station was provided by the Japanese government in the form of a grant to bolster the generation of electricity supply in the Western Area.
The project also helped to build the capacity of engineers working for the Electricity Generation and Transmission Company in the area of maintenance for the installed generator and other electrical appliances.
Addressing the press after the tour of the project site at the Kingtom power house, Counsellor Sigeru Umetsu said one of the challenges they encounter in providing development assistance was in the area of maintenance, hence they have thought it prudent to build the capacity of local staff that would be handling the 10 megawatt power station.
“Development of human resource is very critical to making the project successful, hence we put very much importance to capacity [building]. We did not only provide the machine but make sure that we build the capacity of local engineers in the area of maintenance for the sustainability of the project,” he said.
He said the energy sector was a priority to the Japanese Government and that the installed generator was donated as grant, while the training of engineers was made possible through Technical Cooperation between the Japanese Government and the Government of Sierra Leone.
According to him, the project was one of the most successful in the country and that since the generator was commissioned by President Koroma in 2010, there had not been a reported case of breakdown.
“I was pleased to have been informed that the generator has no breakdown since it was installed,” he said.
He promised that the Japanese Government would continue to provide support in the area of capacity building for local engineers, especially in the area of renewable energy.
Acting Generator Head at the Kingtom power station, Engineer Alfred Vandy, underscored the importance of the project, which he said not only assisted in boosting electricity generation and supply but also helped in building the capacity of local engineers.
“Our Engineers received both local and overseas training in Japan in general maintenance,” he said.
He said the project came at a time when the country was struggling with power supply and that its implementation assisted greatly.
He appealed for more training programmes to be supported by the Japanese Government to enhance the capacity of local engineers.
One of the engineers who received over two months training in Japan said he now has the capacity to repair the installed generator, although he requested that additional training be provided to them to enable them handle more technical electrical problems.
The Japanese envoy also visited the Urgent Improvement of Power Distribution System project site at Goderich in the Western Rural Area.
The project, which would provide an 11 KVA secondary substation, would also help improve transmission and distribution lines from Goderich to Sussex and beyond.