Parliament ratifies 28.2 MW Betmai hydro-power agreement

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In a momentous session on Thursday, October 19, 2023, the Parliament of Sierra Leone, with unanimous support, ratified the amended 28.2MW Betmai HydroElectric Power project agreement that will be developed along the Pampana River. This vital project promises to usher in a new era of enhanced electricity supply for our beloved country.

The Parliament’s enthusiastic endorsement of the agreement marks a significant stride in Sierra Leone’s journey towards energy security. The agreement comprises the 28.2MW Betmai HydroElectric Power project, a locally-owned venture by Sierra Leoneans, and it is set to make an enduring impact on our nation’s energy landscape.

Deputy Energy Minister Eldred Taylor presented the agreement before Parliament for debate and ratification. He emphasized that the Ministry of Energy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority, engaged in extensive negotiations to bring this 28.2MW hydro project to fruition. This project is situated within the Tonkolili district and operates under a build-operate-and-transfer model with a twenty-five-year concession agreement, which with the right distribution network has the potential to provide electricity access to about 2 million people in rural areas.

Crucially, the Betmai Power plant will connect to the CLSG Transmission Lines with its independent power source, thereby enhancing the infrastructural development of an energy-self-sufficient nation. The project’s significance is underscored by its potential to provide energy security to the nation and facilitate the technical integration of the West African power energy distribution system.

Minister Taylor also highlighted the project’s potential to generate employment opportunities, estimating that it will create more than two thousand jobs during the construction phase. Once completed, it will complement the Bumbuna Hydro power supply, offering an affordable tariff. The project is expected to catalyze development in the eastern part of Sierra Leone, further addressing the diverse electricity supply needs of our country.

The government’s commitment to partnership with the private sector for state development was reiterated, affirming the open-door policy and the dedication to progress.

Parliamentary Chairperson on Energy, Hon. Kerikura Vandy, expressed gratitude to the Speaker of Parliament for guiding him as chairman on energy-related matters. He emphasized that the agreement holds the promise of affordability, considering the low tariff it would bring. He lauded the project’s twenty-five-year concession and the tangible benefits it will bring, especially by generating electricity supply for the country. In his words, the project represents an opportunity to enhance the electricity supply for the nation at an affordable cost.

The dynamic chairman called upon his colleagues and Members of Parliament to stand behind this transformative project, underscoring that it is a non-controversial initiative with enormous potential to positively impact Sierra Leone’s energy landscape.

Sierra Leone is on the cusp of a significant breakthrough in its pursuit of energy security, thanks to the ratification of the 28.2MW Betmai HydroElectric Power project. As the nation moves forward, the commitment to sustainable development and energy security remains resolute.

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