By Yankuba Jallow
The National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) has threatened to stop the supply of electricity and water to the State’s parastatals that are owing them millions of dalasis.
The company also threatened to disconnect persons in the public who have not settled their outstanding bills.
The managing director, Baba Fatajo said in a press conference held at the company’s head office in Kanifing on Monday that they are facing challenges on collecting debts with respect to outstanding bills.
Fatajo said there are State institutions owing the Company millions of dalasis.
“There is nothing to compromise with State parastatals. We have been compromising with them but now we will cut off the supply to those that fail to pay their arias.
“I will not mention names but there is an institution of the State owing NAWEC about 70 million dalasis and there is another also owing us 15 million dalasis,” he said.
MD Fatajo said NAWEC has been compromising the bills and have created avenues for the consumers to pay their dues. He added that the company has been taking loans from banks to ensure that they continue to operate and the interest attached to those loans is exorbitant. Fatajo stressed that NAWEC is not a philanthropic organization but a profit-making company.
“We cannot continue to borrow money to sustain ourselves; that is not sustainable.”
“I think we have exhausted all avenues and the only avenue left for us is to disconnect them,” Fatajo said.
He commended the government of The Gambia and the hotels in the country through the Hotel Association and the Gambia Tourism Board for paying their dues on time.
On the contract signed by the Company with the SENELEC of Senegal to supply the Gambia with 10 megawatts of electricity, Fatajo said the contract is beneficial to NAWEC.
“Previously we used to provide the people with 13 to 15 hours of electricity supply but now SENELEC is giving them 24 hours supply,” he said.
He said The Gambia is only utilizing 3 megawatts out of the 10 megawatts deal with the Senegalese company.
He said solution to the water crisis in the Greater Banjul Area may take a longer duration before the issue will be solved.
“If people are not paying us, it is going to be a daunting task for NAWEC to expand,” he said.
He related the problems that the company is facing to the unavailability of sufficient resources.