The current crises— epileptic power supply, rising price of crude oil amidst harsh economic policies is having a far-reaching implications on both Sierra Leoneans and on the Sierra Leone economy as citizens and business owners rely heavily on the use of the products and service for domestic and commercial purposes.
Consequently, a cross-section of residents in the Freetown municipality have expressed anger over the issues with some saying that one of the manifesto promises of the SLPP Government was providing sustainable power for the country.
In this Vox Pop, Concord Times’ Yusufu S.Bangura and Naomi Pessima, yesterday took to the streets of Freetown to gauge the views of citizens, business owners, policy makers and civil society activists on what they think about the rampant black out and fuel crises.
Barbra Williams, dealer in cold drinks
This rampant power outage in Freetown is really affecting me. As a drink seller can’t do without light. My business has gone down and customers are no longer coming to buy drinks because it is not cold.
As a mother, I used to cook my source every Saturday and placed them in the refrigerator, but due to power shortage, I now used fire to preserve my food. Am pleading to the government to put modalities in place to restore the electricity. Our food is getting spoiled! Things are not easy for us the layman. Without light we can’t do anything.
Theophilus Brown, Clearing Agent
Due to the interment power supply, my freezer, microwave and other electrical apparatus have developed mechanical fault and you know the cost of freezer has increased by 30%. We are now using Christmas light in our homes. This sad! Very, very, sad for this government. At night, I and my family used torchlight to find our way out in the rooms.
Am pleading with the government and other authorities to give us light which is very important to us, as Sierra Leoneans we need light, water and food for our survival.
Abdulai Sankoh, Businessman
As a business man, I am deeply concern about the increase in prices of petroleum products; a hike which is possibly caused by the ongoing crises in Europe. I do not expect that this will be over anytime soon. If the government doesn’t nip this in the bud, it has the potentials to reverse the current gains recorded by the government. As you also may know, with rising prices in petroleum products, we expect rising inflation and a further depletion of the purchasing power of the Leone currency that has the potential to plunge more Sierra Leoneans below the poverty line. Now is the time for the government to be very prudent to avoid exposing our economy to further global shocks.
Alimatu Rollings, Businesswoman
This light issue in the country has been a major concern to me because I use light every day at home and business centre. I use electricity to charge my phone, prepare food for two weeks and keep it in freezer for my children to have something to eat, but due to blackout everything in the freezer has got spoiled.
We really don’t know what to do again because nothing good is left for us. As for me, I think the leaders are not doing their work to make sure that they put things in place to tackle the light issue and they supposed to have plan A or B, but there is no preparation and they only think about themselves.
There is no light in the country, dollar price has increased, no pipe born water supply, fuel scarcity and many more odds. This kind of stress has led to the death of many young Sierra Leoneans that chose to live in other countries as illegal immigrant.
Amara Sesay, Tailor
As a tailor using electric machines to do my work, this rampant blackout is disgraceful because my business has been come slow and for the past five days am not working because of blackout. I can only use my machines when there is light so it really embarrassing to my business.
I don’t really know the cause of the blackout because the authorities responsible for the supply of light are not saying anything to us the citizens but rather hearing so many rumours.
I want to tell the authorities responsible that taking away what we have duly paid for is tantamount to civilize criminality. For God’s sake we are using prepaid meters, thus we suppose to get the service we have paid for.
I am pleading with the government to fixing things for us to survive as light is part of our source of living.
Ansumana Williams, Sales Supervisor at Noreska
The extensive blackout in the country is disturbing our business because for us here, we have freezers that need heavy power for them to be functional. We are having issues with our customers due to power outage as drinks are not cold.
Every day, we spent huge money to buy fuel which is not good for us the workers. Noreskar is a big business centre that needs light to operate. Am calling on the government to resume the light system, my work is also at risk because when business is not good, our boss terminate our contract, so am not happy.
Hawa Lansana, Manager at Lovetta’s Kitchen
For me as the manager, the blackout is so stressful because I cannot run my business without light. I need to prepare my food with electric devices. Every day I spent Le500, 000 to buy diesel and now business is too slow, so we are pleading with the government to find all possible means to solve this light issue.
I don’t really know the reason for the power shortage, but I need light because I buy credit for my meter, so I suppose to have light which is not free. Also, I have to pay tax, pay my staff, pay my shop rent and other expenditures. But without light, I can’t have money to pay these bills.
When there is no light, there will be no customers because most customers like hot food and cold drinks and most times my food got spoiled, she cried out.
Muctarr Daramy, Businessman
As am speaking now my phone is switched off because there is no where I can find light to charge my phone. This is affecting me greatly. My son supposed to send money for me through orange money, but I can’t receive it now. Also, I and my family slept without light, so I don’t know where we are heading to.
I want the government to know that they are using our money to pay the authorities responsible for electricity supply. I know that government has contracted the Turkish power ship, but they need to have a standby generator which will help supply light within the city.
Michael Bangura, Trade developer for Africell
Blackout has really hit the city for the past one week now which is affecting my job. I have to test every sim that comes to my desk but since my phone is off, I can’t do my work.
As we all know, it has been a while not experiencing blackout, but this one is serious. It has destroyed my electrical utensils at home. I am not the only person feeling the pain but everyone feels it. So I’m pleading with the government to inform the public why there is no light.