Gov’t signs $50 financing agreement with World Bank
June 18, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Finance yesterday signed a financing and project agreements worth $50million for the improvement of the distribution and transmission of electricity in Freetown.
The additional funds from the bank comes under the Energy Sector Utility Reform Project and will look after mainly the challenges in terms of distribution and transmission of energy in the urban areas, specifically Freetown, where low voltage is being reported in various places.
According to the Principal Deputy Financial Secretary, Matthew Dingie, the project will definitely try to address the issue and make sure that those areas which have not been covered by energy as at now benefit from it.
World Bank Country Manager, Gayle Martin said: “This is an important area of engagement for the World Bank in Sierra Leone, giving the low energy access, which is among the lowest in the world. This is an additional financing of $50million to an existing one that we have. This is one of further areas of support that we have in the pipeline.”
She emphasized that the additional funds will be investment in transmission and distribution, which is as equally as important as generation as according to her, failure to distribute and transmit what is being generated cannot benefit from the generation capacity.
She noted that even though mobilizing resources from the bank’s angle is an important step, the implementation is also key, which is why everyone, including the direct beneficiary, the Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency (EDSA) should ensure the successfully implementation of the project.
On his part, the bank’s Regional Director for Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana, Henry Kerali reiterated the importance of the energy sector to the development of Sierra Leone.
He stressed the importance in having a strong distribution system because without it, all the other aspects of the sector, such as generation and transmission will account for very little unless it is working properly.
“We really want to push as much as we can to ensure that the distribution system is as efficient as possible and able to generate the revenues needed from the generating capacity,” he said.
Energy Minister, Alhaji Kanja Sesay stated: “This project will not have come at a better time, especially now when we are going through challenges in this rainy season. We are seriously exposed with weak distribution and transmission lines systems and it was deliberate on our part as a ministry to request for this funding and we are grateful for the support.”
He assured of their determination and commitment to making sure that they work assiduously to ensure the successful implementation of the project on record time.
Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa stated that the project fall in line with government priority of increasing access to electricity in the country.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the World Bank, especially the Country Manager for their continuous support to the development aspirations of the country.