It was a joyous day for residents at Regent in the Peninsula when President Ernest Bai Koroma commissioned the Regent primary sub station, funded by the Japanese government.
The project was implemented by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The sub station was built under the first phase of the project for Urgent Improvement of Electric Power Supply System in Freetown. The second phase of the project is a construction of a power house and related facilities at the Kingtom Power station including the installation of 10 Mega Watts diesel engine generators. In his speech, President Koroma thanked the government and people of Japan for their work towards improving the lives of Sierra Leoneans and fulfilling his dreams and vision for Sierra Leone.
He said it is almost a year ago when I launched this project. “I
was therefore pleasantly surprised to be called upon to commission the completion of the first phase of the work”.
Dr Koroma noted that, this indicates the efficient and timely manner in which this project was implemented and demonstrates the professional expertise of the Japanese’s consultants, contractors and their local partners.
“I understand that this first phase is to be followed soon by the 2nd phase which is a 10 Mega Watts power house undergoing construction in Kingtom”, Koroma said
The 10 Mega watts power plant he said will add considerably to the generating capacity in Freetown and supplement power supply from Bumbuna during the dry season. President Koroma acknowledged with satisfaction the support from the Government and people of Japan through JICA, not only in the energy and water sectors but also in Youth Employment, Agriculture and other technical training programmes to strengthen our human resource capacity.
He reiterated that electricity is still its priority followed by agriculture and concluded by saying his government remains committed to implementing the projects.
In his speech Japanese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Keiichi Katakami recalled that in August 2007, the then vice- Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Hamada visited this country and signed the agreement amounting to about 5 million dollars for the project.
He explained that the projects included the procurement and installation works for 33 KV and 11 KV distribution facilities between the Kingtom power station and the Regent sub station, the construction of the Regent sub station, and the procurement of maintenance tools.
The Ambassador observed that, “the second phase of the project is well underway, which is the construction of a power house and 10 Mega Watts diesel engine generators at Kingtom”. Katakami stated that, the project aims to contribute to creating a stable power supply system in Freetown in order to improve the living standards of the people through stable operation of public facilities, hospitals, and schools, and revitalize economic and industrial activities.
The Ambassador reiterated that, Japan supports the implementation of government’s Agenda for Change’, that is the poverty reduction strategy launched last month by President Koroma.
In the Agenda for Change, he said, the provision of a reliable power supply is identified as one of the four key priorities.
He said despite the global financial crisis, Japan is determined to carry out its commitments and assured the people of Sierra Leone that Japan will continue to assist Sierra Leones’ Peace-Building, the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and economic growth through our bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
The Ambassador expressed thanks and appreciation to the consultant for the project Yachiyo Engineering Company limited, which added Value Cooperation, and sub-contractors, Toenec Corporation and Takaoka Company Limited. The General Manager of the National Power Authority (NPA) Dr Zubairu Kaloko said that the official name of the project is the “Urgent Improvement of Electric Power Supply System in Freetown phase one”.
He noted that when President Koroma took office, Freetown only had 5 Mega Watts of electric capacity and that 5 Mega Watts were highly unreliable. As a result 15 Mega Watts of emergency power supply was installed to provide electricity to Freetown.
Through the efforts of the President, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources and NPA we have supplied electricity to Freetown for 530 days none stop”, he said.
He said that electricity is not only for lightning our homes and offices but should be used heavily to stimulate industrial activity and manufacturing of goods and services.
Dr Kaloko explained that, JICA power project started in March 2006 when JICA sent a consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study, adding that the study outlined the deplorable transmission and distribution network and lack of electric capacity to supply electricity in Freetown.
The General Manager further added that, the total budget for the project is US$22, 4 million of which US$165.640 is borne by NPA representing the contribution of the government of Sierra Leone in implementing the project.
The budget allocation for phase one was US$5.7 million and US$16.7 million for phase two.The Energy and Water Resources Minister, Professor Ogunlande Davidson expressed President Koroma wish and desire to expand electricity supply in the country.
He assured that NPA is ready to increase the supply of electricity from where it is now to a better place. The minister also promised that maintenance of the machines will be his top most priority. The former Minister of ministry, Haja Afsatu Kabba stole the show as she was welcomed by hundreds of youth who graced the occasion for her promise she made to them that the project will be completed within a year. By Abibatu Kamara