By Omar Bah
The Director General of the National Water & Electricity Company (NAWEC), Baba Fatajo yesterday disclosed that the problems faced by the country’s national electricity supplier cannot be solved overnight.
“If I tell you NAWEC can bring uninterrupted electricity supply that will not be realistic. What I can say about the present predicament is that, the task is very difficult because it doesn’t only involve human resources, but also capital,” Fatajo told journalists at a briefing at the NAWEC conference hall yesterday.
He said NAWEC has been struggling immensely over the years to collect bills from government institutions, especially the area councils who are the highest debtors.
“The non-payment D400M debt owed by government institutions and the lack of enough resources is seriously hindering the progress of NAWEC,” he said.
He continued: “I must however inform you that despite all these challenges we are doing our level best and ongoing works at Brikama and Kotu power stations are clear testimony to that”.
Fatajo said NAWEC’s immediate priority is to see how soon they can recover part of the lost generation. “We also have plans for expansions, which are both medium and long terms. What is important for now is to ensure that NAWEC provides satisfactory services to their customers. We are optimistic and we hope there will be some improvements along the line, but is not going to be that easy,” he stressed.
Fatajo also said the company has taken an initial step to recover the debts as it has sent a last ultimatum to its debtors to “recover in full all debts due and outstanding to NAWEC”.
“Due to this huge drawback in revenue and the continued rise in debt owed to it, the National Water and Electricity Company is facing serious difficulties in paying its suppliers,” he added.
Mr. Fatajo further stressed that before Ramadan, the remaining under maintenance generator number 7 at the Kotu Power Station will begin operation, which will significantly improve their service.
He said NAWEC is also expecting are huge boost of over 30 megawatt in Kotu and Brikama power stations in the next 18 months.
“It is also important to note that two out of the four power stations which are under maintenance in Brikama and Kotu are now functioning”.
The commercial director, NAWEC Tijian Manneh said the company will do everything within its ability to recover these arrears “to provide the services it should be providing”.
“We are discussing with the institutions in question and hopefully we will come to terms if not we will take drastic actions,” he said.