It dropped like a bombshell when President Koroma yesterday admitted that the eagerly awaited Bumbuna electricity which is expected this April has faced serious setback and will not be due until the middle of the rainy season .
The reason for this delay he said is as a result of the vandalisation of cables and other technical problems which have affected the Project.
According to the President as we wait for the rains there are three other issues that we need to work on in order to ensure the successful completion of the project “this requires Government to work with maximum effort and commitment for the project to be completed.”
Dressed in a blue striped gara and looking through his reading glass as he read the prepared speech over the television last night, the President sounded confident and optimistic though there was an underlying tone of disappointment.
“Destruction of bumbuna cables by bush fire along the road has the potential to distort and destroy the flow of electricity to transmission lines. Bush fire reports needs to be taken to the appropriate authorities for immediate action as modalities have been worked out for preventive measures,” he averred.
President Koroma urged every one to stop setting bush fires in the vicinity of the transmission lines and report any incident of such occurrence.
“For the health, safety and security of every one,” he accentuated “all structures at the 30meter wide right of way along the transmission line must be cleared before the Bumbuna power can be switched on.”
“I am committed to ensuring [defaulters] are severely dealt with,” lamenting that those involved in “theft and vandalisation of Bumbuna project materials and structures are also a threat to the project.”
He also urged citizens to support the project for the good of Sierra Leone as ten million dollars ($10m) has been spent on rehabilitating transmission lines vandalized by unscrupulous individuals.
The President also revealed that conductors and tower machines were used to make pots or sold as scrap metals. He warned “I have put in place necessary arrangements for the security forces to take full responsibility for the security of Bumbuna installations and call on every one to ensure that these vital facilities are not damaged,” he said.
President Koroma expressed his sincere and heart felt gratitude to development partners for funding the project and for the management, contractors and consultants who have worked so hard, stressing that “it is imperative that we deliver to our commitments on the project, no delay and impediment can be allowed to block the way of the expectations of our people.
“My vision for energy is critical to our development which stand along side agriculture as our economic priority that is why I pledged my government’s commitment to provide reliable and affordable access to electricity for the nation … upon assuming office the first and fore most priority of the APC Government is for emergency power for Freetown, the completion of Bumbuna is the second step but in the coming months we need to move forward and faster to ensure that electricity is shared across the nation.”
He intimated that the Government is facilitating the establishment of an institution that will look in to the networking of electricity supply from Freetown to Bo Kenema Power Services, Port Loko, Lungi and integrate them in to the Bumbuna power supply I hope we and our partners are determined to ensure that power supply is shared among many in the country. “I will keep all Sierra Leoneans well informed” he reiterated.