H.E’S STATEMENT AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE 20MW POWER PLANT IN BRIKAMA

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SPEECH BY H.E. ADAMA BARROW GMRG, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA ON THE OCCASION OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE 20MW POWER PLANT IN BRIKAMA

20TH FEBRUARY 2021

The Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,

My Lord, the Chief Justice,

Cabinet Ministers Present,

Senior Government Officials and Service Chiefs,

National Assembly Members,

Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,

Local Government Authorities,

Venerable Religious Leaders,

Members of the Media,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a delight to preside over the inauguration of the new twenty (20) Mega Watts Power Plant installed here in Brikama. It is a source of joy to observe that the event is being held as part of the activities marking the Fifty-sixth Independence Anniversary of our dear motherland. The occasion adds to the ample evidence of my government’s commitment to our 2021 Energy Roadmap and National Development Plan.

The addition of twenty (20) Mega Watts to our electricity generation capacity will significantly address the country’s power capacity gaps and serve as a catalyst to achieve and maintain regular electricity supply for the entire Gambian nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Power Plant project results from the Government’s belief that energy is a key driver of economic development. Thus, it has to serve a leverage to raise living standards and reduce poverty in the country.

The project stands out as another means of accelerating the country’s key infrastructure investments to empower Gambian citizens through access to essential services. It is only through such huge development strides that we can attain and sustain the level of economic growth we desire.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The rapid increase in the generation capacity of NAWEC and the expansion of its service within the past four years has been quite tactical.

We are convinced it takes such innovative strategies to rekindle hopes and uplift the living standards of our people.

The increasing demand for power, arising from the expansion of economic activities in the country, also makes it compelling for Government to redouble efforts in the energy sector. The strategy is to gradually replace the old generator sets with reliable ones and maintain a single national grid.

Besides providing sustainable energy for all, it is equally necessary to work towards cost-reflective electricity tariffs in a systematic manner and within the right regulatory framework.

We remain committed to the socio-economic development objectives as outlined in our National Development Plan (NDP), the AU 2063 Agenda and the AU/EU partnership for Green Transition and Energy Access. Accordingly, the energy sector has a critical role to play for the realisation of these development mileposts.

To this end, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is establishing an Energy Platform to exploit sustainable energy solutions in order to propel agricultural development, facilitate trade and promote digital inclusion, among other objectives.

We are also working with our development partners to mitigate the effects of climate change, increase our renewable energy uptake and improve energy efficiency in our homes, institutions and businesses.

Let me stress that my government will keep up the momentum of infrastructure development countrywide. To stir economic growth, we need good roads, bridges, schools and hospitals to name a few examples, and all these developments require regular and reliable electricity supply. Therefore, this occasion marks a key milestone for the nation in the long quest for steady power supply.

Alongside increasing the generation capacity of electricity are other projects to step up access, and expand the transmission and distribution network within a reinforced and reliable system. These measures will improve supply, increase customer connections and support investments.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

My government is aware of the fact that despite significant improvements on access to electricity since 2017, there remains a considerable portion of our population without electricity supply. To address this, in collaboration with our development partners, Government will, in the next three years, create access to over six hundred and eighty-five (685) communities countrywide. Our target is universal access by 2025, which is earlier than the 2030 Sustainable Energy for All target.

I am happy to observe that, so far, most of the priorities of the NDP and the 2017 Energy Roadmap have been successfully fulfilled. This puts the energy sector on a firm footing for bigger successes. We will continue to encourage private sector participation.

With these reforms, I am confident that our 2025 target will be attained. Against this background, a comprehensive Energy Master Plan development is being developed to set the pace.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

At this juncture, it is worth mentioning that the overall cost of this Power Plan Project is Twenty-eight Million, Four Hundred and Forty Thousand US Dollars (US$ 28.44). We are indebted, therefore, to the Islamic Development Bank for providing Twenty-five Million, Two Hundred and Twenty Thousand US Dollars (US$ 25.22 Million) of the cost. We convey special thanks to the President of the Bank, His Excellency, Bandar Hajjar and his staff for their unflinching support to The Gambia.

Furthermore, we appreciate the efforts of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the Board and Management of NAWEC and all stakeholders for the success of the project. However, I urge the Board and Management of NAWEC to re-double their efforts in boosting their generation capacity to support the Government’s initiatives across the country. Having said this, we express gratitude to the contractor, STX Heavy Industries of South Korea, for undertaking the works successfully.

We recognise also the efforts of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs for facilitating the Government’s counterpart contribution of Three Million, Two Hundred and Twenty thousand Dollars ($3.22 Million). As a government, we commend all those who contributed to the success of the project.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I renew my government’s pledge to continue on our development endeavours to power our homes, industries and economy into a brighter future. As we pursue our 2025 “Energy for all” agenda, I ask all citizens to remain vigilant and protect the infrastructure provided for you, and make the best use of the services put at your disposal.

With renewed zeal and hope for a brighter future for all Gambians, I now declare the Brikama Plant Project officially inaugurated.

God bless The Gambia!

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