(JollofNews) – The Point Newspaper editorial of 8th May 2017 wrote: “We are sure you have taken note that since you took over, the situation of electricity is getting worse.
“Mr President, we understood that during the Jammeh-era, The Gambia had 80MW of electricity, about just half of the projected demand of electricity. But this amount has even further now dropped to 40MW. You need to significantly increase electricity generation to meet the demand which has continued to increase due to several factors, including rising urbanisation rate.
“Mr President, another aspect of the electricity problem is the tariff. As it is, The Gambia has one of the most expensive electricity in the world, an EU study has revealed. The electricity tariff cannot remain at the levels at which it is; it is simply beyond the reach of many Gambians even if there is enough generation capacity. The high cost of electricity in the country limits access to energy for the population as well as for the development of the private sector.
“Once again, Mr President, we hope you would adequately work on the electricity conundrum in the country: the people are dissatisfied with the current state of epileptic electricity supply.”
The issues at hand with the supply of electricity in The Gambia are numerous and must be tackled with bold actions supported by bold and resilient energy policies guided and steered by sound, enlightened, competent and well-meaning persons and boards of directors!
The subject of tariffs or the high cost of units of electricity to the Gambian consumer was indeed created by successive governments that keep passing the cost of incompetence, inefficiencies and corruption to the Gambian consumer. Loopholes and self serving protocols over the years have aided and abetted malfeasance and ineptitude at GUC-NAWEC. The younger management that served under the tutelage of plunder masters have now become senior administrators at NAWEC. It’ll be safe to say that they’re mostly bad eggs!
NAWEC as a body has never been managed well enough to set aside healthy budgets and/or reserves for the purchase of secure fuel stocks for power generation. Even where new generators are purchased, the supply of fuel stocks will continue to be a wrench in the works!
The agency has from, the days of the Gambia Utilities Corporation (GUC), been going hat in hand asking for grants, loans and bank overdrafts to service its obligations to the Gambian public. It is common knowledge to almost all that have done business with GUC that the precursor to NAWEC was fraught with malfeasance, nepotism, incompetence plus every other evil in the book. One could, at the time, illegally purchase a 50-100 meter roll of heavy duty underground electric cable or a fuel tanker truck load of diesel from GUC without anyone noticing! That’s the evil that was inherited by NAWEC and the same mindset still flows within NAWEC.
In the effort to curb corruption and incompetence at NAWEC and other public corporations, the new government must set up an independent commission(s) of inquiry with the mandate to hold hearings, investigate and audit all staff rolls, finances and physical stocks of all public public corporations. This is the only way to identify the ills in system(s)/cultures of management that don’t seem to register any progress whatsoever since the days of the PPP! It will also allow for instituting changes required to move these unwieldy, cumbersome and noxious agencies into the twenty first century.
Where central government is broke, it can be concluded that public line agencies under central government are equally broke as they count on funds allocated in the budget estimates, that couldn’t be counted on by any sane and reasonably thinking person, for operating expenses. So the Government of The Gambia (GOTG) must write off all bills owed by central government department for the object of starting on a clean slate.
However, public corporations must be held to account for and pay in full bills owed to NAWEC as a matter of urgency!! NAWEC itself must undertake a thorough house cleaning exercise and cost cutting that will start with cutting benefits for it’s over bloated top management structure.
I will state here that the issue of ghost workers has perennially been a huge problem for NAWEC albeit self-inflicted by successive NAWEC, GUC and SOGEA management. The foregoing are certainly not a panacea for removing cankers in convoluted and porous system but would represent a good start plus HOPE that finally, someone is doing something to resuscitate this haggard looking Gambia of ours!!
By Andrew Pjalo
Courtesy of Sambagate.com