(JollofNews) – President Adama Barrow of the Gambia Friday reiterated his government’s commitment to solve the country’s acute power shortage.
The Gambia is facing serious electricity and water shortages, which is crippling many small businesses and the local economy.
All conventional electricity is produced mainly by thermal generation, and by the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), the sole distributor throughout the country. The main power station at Kotu (rated capacity 46 MW, actual capacity 25 MW), runs on heavy fuel oil (HFO).
The lack of a reliable household electricity supply for the majority of the population, which NAWEC has attributed to the old generators, has led to the endemic use of traditional biomass fuels for household needs, especially in rural areas.
But speaking to reporters after visiting NAWEC’s main powerplant in Kotu, Mr Barrow said his government is concerned at the country’s electricity and water crisis.
“I think NAWEC has been a concern for me and my government. We decided to make a visit in order to ascertain what is going on” Mr Barrow said.
“The public is very concerned and we are also concerned and currently working on plans to solve the electricity problems within two to three years.”
Alieu Bah, a NAWEC officials who spoke to this reporter, said the company is working on major projects that would help to stabilise the power supply across the country.
“NAWEC has already signed a contract for the building of another powerplant. It will bring an additional capacity of 20 megawatt within 18 months. This is all going towards solving the electricity supply,” he said.
Apart from constructing new electricity plant, Mr Bah said the company has secured funding from the World Bank to rehabilitate the old generators they are currently using.
Dr. Muhamed Hakim, one of the engineers hired by NAWEC to build the new powerplant said the project is nearing completion.
He said with the building of 20 and 16 megawatts powerplants in Brikama, some 22 km away from the capital city Banjul, Gambia’s electricity situation will no longer be a nightmare in two-year time.