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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

GAMBIA NEEDS TO DIVERSIFY POWER GENERATION – NAWEC BOSS

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Ebrima Sanyang said The Gambia’s dependence on imported fuel for most of its power generation was too costly, reinforcing the need for diversification and to explore alternative energy sources such as renewable energy.

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Presenting his institution’s report for 2013 to lawmakers comprising the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee of the National Assembly on Monday, Mr Sanyang explained: “The year 2013 was characterised with an increased cost of inputs which affected the financial capacity of the company. This trend proves the urgent need for more attention towards practical solutions within the field of renewable energies such as wind and solar power and indeed, public private partnership, PPP.”

Sanyang said the adoption of the said energy would further ameliorate the power supply deficit situation in the country, while diversifying The Gambia’s energy mix and improving energy efficiency.

He added: “The future outlook of operations is to foster renewable energies and regional cooperation (Cross Border interconnection and Capacity building). Like many developing countries and in the Ecowas sub-region as well, affordable and reliable electricity continue to be a challenge under the unprecedented demand for electricity due to rapid development.”

Sanyang further lamented that in spite of his institution’s readiness to ameliorate the power supply deficit in the country, electricity sustainability remains a huge challenge. 

He said: “Electricity production is on a downward trend partly due to high cost of operation and aspects of maintenance works. The sustainability of the operations is becoming a problem in the wake of the rising cost of inputs. Thus, in the long-term, under the current conditions, and keeping in mind the forthcoming network expansion, the provincial operations will require subsidies from the Government for sustainability. 

“Over the years, Nawec is getting extremely concerned that municipalities and councils in a scheme to upset their arrears to Nawec have been forwarding huge sums of demand notes to the company coming in the form of rates, royalties, operational fees, rent and licences. This phenomena needs to be addressed urgently. The area councils and some public institutions owe Nawec over 200 million dalasis. 

 “As Nawec procures most of its input from oversees, foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations had a significant negative impact on the cost of operation. This is evident from the exchange loss of D405 million in 2013, an increase of 96 percent from 2012. Thus, any further instability of the currency exchange rate can only worsen an already dire situation and this significantly increases the overall financial loss of the company in the year 2013.”  

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