May 13, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Parliament yesterday ratified a power purchase and implementation agreement signed between the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA), on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone and the Solar Era Holdings, in respect of a 5 megawatts solar light energy generation for Bo, amounting to $12m.
In his presentation, Minister of Energy, Henry Macauley, said energy supply was one of the key government priorities and that the 5 megawatts project would help increase and improve energy supply in both Bo and Kenema districts, in addition to what they currently have.
He said the project would be renewable and developed by indigenes, adding that a monitoring body would be set up by the ministry to ensure efficient implementation, adding that a solar light maintenance department would soon be established in the country.
He maintained that they have had community meetings with stakeholders in districts across the country to intimate them about the installation of solar lights in various communities, while trainings had also been conducted.
Ambassador Macauley revealed that “50,000 solar lights are on the way to be installed across the country and I hope that all Sierra Leoneans should participate in making sure that the implementation process be done and should take good care of them when installed in their different communities”.
Hon. Foday Rado Yokie, an opposition lawmaker from Bo District, said the initiative was highly welcomed but noted that there should be distinction between power generation and supply cost as people usually pay for services they do not enjoy.
He said monitoring should be thorough as the country was moving from thermal plants to solar lights which, according to him, would benefit the country and its people if the project was efficiently implemented.
On his part, Hon. Francis Kaisamba from Kenema District said energy was paramount for the development of any country, and urged that challenges faced by the sector should be addressed as soon as possible.
The opposition lawmaker said the Ministry of Energy should effectively monitor the installation process as Bo and Kenema were once business centres which are now struggling because of poor electricity supply, adding that the issue of maintenance should also be seriously considered.