By Yankuba Jallow
The Minister of Petroleum and Energy Fafa Sanyang, Wednesday June 20th 2018, faced the Deputies at the National Assembly, to respond to issues raised by members.
On rural electrification raised by Yaya Gassama, the member for Kiang East, Sanyang said NAWEC has signed a contract with an Indian Firm last month, for the expansion and rehabilitation of the transmission and distribution network within the Greater Banjul Area and part of the Kiangs.
“The Project will extend power lines from Kalagi to Kwinella, Keneba, Tendaba and other satellite villages. In addition, NAWEC and the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum are mobilising the necessary resources to extend power lines from Jarra, to cover the Eastern parts of Kiang. Both projects are to be implemented in early 2019,” he said.
The Member for Banjul North Ousman Sillah raised concern on the efforts of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum to solve the problems confronting NAWEC in providing uninterrupted electricity supply to customers. In response to the member’s concern, the Minister indicated that apart from the daily maintenance activities of old generators, NAWEC has embarked on a major rehabilitation of some of the old generators in order to recover the lost capacity. This is the rest of what he had to say:
“The following generators, G No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 7 of Brikama and Kotu Power Stations, were overhauled and rehabilitation work has commenced on them since March this year, representing about 24MW of the current available capacity. NAWEC through the support of the World Bank is replacing generator number 8 at Kotu power station. The 6MW generator is expected to be available for commercial operations by mid-December 2018. Furthermore, two additional generators financed by the World Bank with a combined 15MW of output at Brikama Power Station, are expected to be available for operations by end January and February 2019 respectively. Arrangements are underway to commence the 24 hours overhaul of generator No. 5 at the Brikama Power Station and this 6.4 MW generator is expected to be ready for operations by the first week of January 2019. NAWEC is also implementing a new 11 MW power generation expansion project at Kotu Power Station, funded by BADEA & OFID and the project is expected to be commissioned by January 2019. These line of activities will no doubt significantly increase the available generation capacity to about 68MW by end January 2019 and up to 75MW by end-March 2019, from the current available capacity of 45MW. With this additional capacity, NAWEC will be able to meet the demand in the short term up to 2019, while new projects are implemented to meet future demand,” he said.
In a supplementary question, the member for Banjul North Ousman Sillah asked for the Minister to inform them of the financial status of NAWEC regarding the volume of debts and breakdowns on the sum owned by its debtors.
In his reply, Sanyang indicated that the major debtors of NAWEC are the Municipal and Area Councils, to the tune of D272,702,150.04. Sanyang continued: “The major debtors are: Area Council’s total arrears D272,702,150.04; Government related arrears such as GRTS, GCCA, Gamtel, National Assembly, Kanilai Family Farms etc, D183,523,419.14 and Government Ministries D143,289,250.23.”
On what plans his Ministry has to fix the Brikama District Hospital’s erratic power supply, Sanyang said Brikama District Hospital like all other health facilities, are given priority in the distribution of available power supply. However, the Minister indicated that due to the current capacity gap, health facilities inevitably go without power supply during the day, but is always on during the night. “NAWEC generally does not provide standby or special generators for any of the health facilities. But instead the Ministry of Health can provide such back-up when NAWEC supply is not available,” Sanyang said.
On how soon Rural Electrification will commence particularly in the Kombo East, a concern raised by Lamin FM Conta, the member for Kombo East, Sanyang responded that as part of the US$22.5 million Indian Line credit for the expansion and rehabilitation of the transmission and distribution network within the Greater Banjul Area, some villages in the Kombo East such as Basori, will benefit; that the contract for the implementation of this project was signed last month and works are expected to commence by early 2019.