By Tabora Bojang
The Gambia Government has paid over 60 million dollars to two power companies for the supply of electricity in three years.
The Barrow government has signed power deals with Turkish company Karpowers and Senegalese power company SENELEC for the supply of electricity in the country.
The Minister of Energy Fafa Sanyang, who appeared before the National Assembly yesterday told lawmakers that the total amount of money paid to Karpowers from May 2018 to November 2019 is $57, 183, 812.98 for the cost of supplying 350, 596. 979 kilo watt-hour.
According to Sanyang, the government paid $3, 324, 507 to SENELEC from September 2017 to October 2019 for cost of supplying 20, 497, 825 kilo watt hour.
He said this is an emergency measure meant to curb the erratic electricity supply and extended low shadings inherited by the Barrow government.
Parliamentarians raised concerns over the sustainability of the contracts and further pressed the minister to indicate the financial viability of the agreements and the long-term economic implications.
Sanyang said the average cost of energy for the two companies is at 0.16 dollars where as Nawec’s own generation cost was around 0.30 dollars, which means Nawec was making a loss of about D4.86.
“With this arrangement, Nawec is selling in margin about D2 per kilowatt per hour,” Sanyang said.
“These sources are cheaper than our sources but it is not only about cost comparisons but also power availability and stability. Right now there are no low shadings, although we have power disruptions. That is why we are able to extend power supply in the provinces; so if it is not cheap we will not go for it,” he added.