The Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Professor Ogunlade R Davidson, and senior officials of his ministry on Tuesday faced the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Energy and Water Resources to explain major developments of his ministry, especially the commissioning of the Bumbuna hydro electricity project,
The meeting which was held at Committee Room No 1 in Parliament building attracted the Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Resources, General Managers from the National Power Authority (NPA), Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC), Bo, Kenema Power Station (BKPS), the Director General of SALWACO, the Executive Secretary of the Radiation Protection Unit and the Progrmme Director of Bumbuna among others.
Chairman of the Committee, Ibrahim Sorie in his remarks explained that the meeting was for the Committee to know more about the Minister since he assumed office in April, to know about major developments in his ministry, especially the Commissioning of Bumbuna.
He further explained that since the Minister took up office they did not have time to sit and discuss about the visits they made earlier to the Kingtom Power Station, Black Hall Road Power Station, BKPS, Reservoirs and dams in the Western Area and in the Provinces.
Parliament, he said is anxious to hear from the Minister about the big issues of the day which is the Commissioning of Bumbuna how is it going to be managed and to know about the Cities and Towns that will benefit from it.
Chairman Sorie said after the meeting they in turn will invite the Minister to make formal statements before Parliament about his Ministry.
Asked why his Ministry’s name was changed from the Ministry of Energy and Power to the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Prof Davidson said that it was changed to fully reflect on the activities of the Ministry.
Prof Davidson spoke on three issues of his Ministry, the Challenges, Activities and the Way Forward.
He stated that, the first challenge they had in his Ministry was the change of name and the location of his Ministry.
The Minister reiterated that the other challenge they are facing is that there is no semblance of energy division in the Ministry but there is a semblance of water division.
Now, he explained that they want to structure an energy division which will be made up of competent engineers.
He explained that he inherited a water policy that was not user friendly, but that he has developed one that is user friendly.
On Bumbuna, he stated that the Bumbuna project has been on for 30 or more years.
He told the gathering that he will not give a specific date for Bumbuna to come on as it needs to go through engineering tests, adding that the link from Bumbuna to Kingtom Power Station is ready and after all reliable testing of it, then it will be switched on, he said.
Prof Davidson further explained that when this government took over, the electricity sector forced the government to take on emergency power projects.
One of which he said, was the contract with the Income Electrix. He disclosed that Income Electrix will move out of the country at the end of September after an agreement was reached by the government of Nigeria and Government of Sierra Leone to pay off the company for their contract that is supposed to end in 2011.
Prof Davidson explained that the contract with Income Electrix was faulty and expensive and that it cost NPA one billion Leones monthly to buy fuel for the 2 mega watts electricity they produce. He said that the Global Trading Company will stay for few months.The Minister pointed out that government is thinking about alternative for Bumbuna. On the water supply, he said they had noticed that people are not satisfied with the supply of water in the city due to the influx of people. This he said leads to many problems of wastages and illegal connections.
He said they have put projects in place to salvage the situation.
However, Prof Davidson said those at the eastern part of Freetown will be ok with water problem if the Orogu dam is constructed.
The Minister also gave update on the Radiation Unit of his Ministry.
The General Manager of NPA Dr Zubairu Kaloko said that since he took office he has transformed that authority from once a neglected and dilapidated sector to one that is in toe with modern corporate entity with cutting edge technology and human resource base, capable of managing the electricity needs of the people.He stated that the number one enemy of NPA is the poor state of Freetown’s transmission and distribution lines which was constructed in the 1960s and has not been replaced since then.
Dr Kaloko explained that the frequent power outages and black outs are caused by faults originating from the power lines.
However, he stated to make Bumbuna a reality and increase power supply whilst awaiting the completion of Salini’s work, NPA will be undertaking the diversion of three of its existing 11kv feeder lines from the Kingtom power station to the Freetown sub station.He stressed that NPA is preparing to receive Bumbuna electricity supply.
The General Manager of GVWC, Ibrahim Wilson and the Director General of SALWACO Philip Lansana said they have projects at hand that will salvage the water problems in the country.
Also the General Manager of BKPS said that his institutions are unable to provide adequate electricity needed for the people in Bo and Kenema due to constraints they are facing.
The Programme Director of Bumbuna Abdulai Jalloh also gave an update on Bumbuna.
Comments and suggestions were raised by members of the Committee.