By Momodou Jarju
The Minister of Energy and Petroleum Fafa Sanyang yesterday January 3, 2019, inaugurated the newly constituted Board of Directors of the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), at a ceremony held at the Petroleum House at Brusubi roundabout.
The board of directors comprise Bai Modou Cham as Chairperson, Crispin Grey Johnson, Kebba Sanyang, Bintou Jagne, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy; Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance; Modou Bah; a Representative from the Office of the President and NAWEC MD Baba Fatajo, as members.
At the ceremony, Sanyang called for more intervention towards the Utility sector, in order for them to achieve their policy objectives of “sustainable energy for all”, in the country. He said the country’s electricity and water situation has always been challenging, despite significant efforts made to improve the situation.
“Recently, we have experienced acute problems with our water supply, which is a cause for concern. You would agree with me that these constraints make it difficult and expensive for value added production and other businesses to efficiently operate in The Gambia, including other social services,” he said; that they have successfully validated The Gambia Electricity Sub-sector Roadmap in July 2017, which provides the pathway that Government wishes to take, to provide affordable, efficient and sustainable energy for all Gambians.
The support of the roadmap he went on, came from development, bilateral and regional partners such as the World Bank, Africa Development Bank, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank, the Republic of Senegal, Peoples Republic of China, Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), OMVG and ECOWAS.
“The roadmap, which is in line with our National Development Plan (NDP), provides for the least cost of energy production with emphasis on renewable and regional energy trade. This, backed by a robust transmission and distribution network, will increase the affordable and quality energy access rate of 60 to 80% by 2025. Please note also that the universal access for energy, include efforts to develop mini-grid and off-grid,” he said.
According to the Minister, achieving these “lofty policy objectives” requires the injection of efficiency in NAWEC; that concerted efforts are needed to turn around NAWEC into a viable institution which calls for the restructuring of the Utility Company.
With the new board in place, Minister Sanyang expressed optimism that things will get better, saying his Ministry is prepared to work with the board and management of NAWEC to ameliorate the problems of water supply in the country; that the board has the responsibility of providing leadership, ensuring checks and balances, accountability and encouraging teamwork.
Also, Sanyang said the board mandate touches on set strategic goals and provide strategic direction for the Company; review and approval of all policies relevant to NAWEC’s operations; establishment of a framework of prudent and effective controls; ensuring that all significant risks are regularly assessed and managed; regular monitoring, assessment and upgrade of the risk management and internal control; ensuring that obligations to shareholders are met, and to provide oversight of internal audit functions.
Speaking further, Minister Sanyang said: “Please be informed that we would be eventually entering into a performance contract with the view to giving the board and management of NAWEC, the freedom and operational independence according to corporate governance norms and best practices.”
He assured board members that the Government of Adama Barrow through his Ministry, will open its doors to them for any advice and support they may require, in the cause of executing their mandate.