By Sorie Fofana.
Undoubtedly, the new government of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio inherited a wrecked economy from the APC administration of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. Before leaving office in April 2018, the APC government entered into several dubious deals or contracts with some emergency power producers. One such deal is the agreement (contract) with Aggreko International Projects Limited for the provision and supply of 20MW temporary power generation equipment and services.
On top of the capacity charge of US$1,690,000 (One Million Six Hundred and Ninety thousand United States dollars), Aggreko charges EDSA (Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority) an extra amount of money for energy supply (US35 Cents per Kilowatt). EDSA is also responsible for all fuel costs incurred by Aggreko during the period of the contract (twenty six weeks). The contract is expected to end on May 31st, 2018. The good news is that, this government has indicated clearly that it does not intend to renew or renegotiate the Aggreko agreement or contract.
The new Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay has been very busy finding ways and means to address the issue of rampant blackout in especially the capital city of Freetown. Since he took over from Henry Macaulay, Alhaji Kanja Sesay has been in constant touch with the owners and agents of the Turkish Powership called Karadeniz Powership Dogan Bey which arrived in Freetown in December last year.
According to the Turkish Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Ambassador Deha Erpek, the new administration of President Julius Maada Bio has successfully negotiated a very good deal with the Turkish Powership owners and a contract is about to be signed. The contract has received the backing and endorsement of the World Bank, according to a senior World Bank official in Freetown.
Sources in the Ministry of Finance told the Global Times last night that the contract will be finalized today, with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance. It is a good deal because, instead of paying US35 Cents per Kilowatt, the government has negotiated it to US16.4 Cents per kilowatt. And the good news is that, the Government or EDSA will no longer bear the cost of fuel.
Ministry of Finance sources informed the Global Times that, the new administration will be saving at least US$10m (Ten Million United States dollars) annually in the area of electricity. At the end of the three year contract with the Turkish Powership, the new government would have saved about US$30m (Thirty Million United States dollars).
Before this new government came into office in April this year, the World Bank had warned the Sierra Leone Government not to enter into any energy agreement without their approval or concurrence. This new contract has been approved by the World Bank. It is expected that with all formalities in the signing of the contract completed by today, blackout in Freetown will soon be over.
The other piece of good news is that, the Bumbuna Hydro Power Dam, which was shut down on 20th May for annual maintenance will return to full production capacity on Wednesday 30th May, 2018.
We continue to appeal to Sierra Leoneans to exercise calmness and patience as the new government of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio continues to address the bread and butter issues.
Very soon, we will get there! Thank you!