By Awa B. Bah
The board, management and staff of the Gambia National Water and Electricity Company NAWEC, on Wednesday June 4th 2018, finally appeared before the National Assembly Select Committee on Public Enterprises. It could be recalled that PEC on Monday warned the Board to appear before them which came as a result of their absence for the second time.
NAWEC is a public enterprise Company established under the Companies ACT. It succeeded the UHC in 1996 over time, its governance has evolved to one that defines closer partnership with Government and the private sector. It is governed by a board of directors appointed by the overseeing ministry of energy, constituting eight divisions, water and sewage, power generation, finance, commercial, human resources and administration, corporate services, provincial services, internal audit, IT and TD.
After a brief introduction of the board and staff members, Mustapha Colley a members of the Board, said they collaborate with the company’s management in 2015 to continue the diligent work of improving the provision of electricity, water and sewages services to the populace; that there is an increase demand for water and electricity, due to the phenomenal growth in the economy; that the board ensures that the enabling environment is in place for NAWECC to develop strategies and plans to provide and extend its services to all.
The Company’s Director Baba Fatajo, gave a summary and said in the year ended 2015, the Company witnessed series of activities to improve the availability and accessibility of water and electricity through the rehabilitation of existing facilities and the implementation of new projects, to meet customer demand; that NAWEC as part of their efforts to improve the power supply situation and reduce the operating cost in rural areas, procured and installed two new heavy fuel engines in Basse and Farafenni with a total capacity of about 5.2MW, through the Indian Line of credit; that when fully implemented, this will boost both the revenue and operational status of the Company by drastically reducing the current prohibitive operational cost in the provinces. Fatajo said in the year 2015 /16, major ongoing activities were maintenance works, procurement for consultancies and works of major generation project both for urban and rural Gambia; that affordable and reliable electricity, remains a big challenge for the Company; that this is as a result of the high cost of operations and lack of the required investment in the sector. He said despite a slight declined in the prices of oil internationally, fuel and fuel related products remains a major cost driver for NAWEC; that the non-payment and delay in bills of water and electricity over the period by local Government authorities, ministries and other Government related accounts, has forced NAWEC to continue to borrow from commercial banks with heavy interest rates, to sustain its operations.
Realizing the importance of water and electricity, Fatajo said NAWEC and Government have adopted strategies focusing on contracting highly concessional loans, to increase both the provision of water and electricity at relatively affordable price and that efforts are underway to source funding from partners; that in the Greater Banjul Area, efforts were made by management through the current REEP, to ensure additional generators are available to meet the increasing demand for water and electricity.
See Next Edition on the Management and Auditors engagement with PEC