I am very disturbed by the constant power cuts – black outs and brown outs. I have travelled around Africa and I have seen the situation of electricity in other countries and I can confirm that our Gambian situation is among the worst.
However, I do not concur with Ousainou Darboe of privatising of power and water supplies one hundred percent. That will not wash in a developing country like The Gambia. The most important among the things we should take note of is the fact that water and electricity are crucial services that have enormous impacts on people’s lives to the point that anyone who controls them, controls the country.
It is one of the many reasons why some development advocates do not want to privatise them at any cost. It doesn’t however also give excuses for inefficiency in service delivery that this country is facing, and has been facing for the past four decades. Experts are of the view that Nawec is producing only forty percent of the total power needs of The Gambia. As such, it has to double up its efforts to meet the power needs of the population. Ousainou Darboe was right when he talked about power nightmares in rural Gambia.
Many years ago, the Kharafi Group expressed interest in the national power company but government reportedly declined because we were told that the investor allegedly wanted to charge consumers in dollars. Today, Gambian consumers are paying one of the highest electricity tariffs even though the service has shown no sign of improvement.
Research has also shown that most changes carried out in less developed countries (LDCs) under the auspices of the World Bank and the IMF have not achieved the desired outcomes. Latest ones are showing that the initiation and control of reform from outside affects the outcomes of the change programme. It is therefore imperative for funding and donor agencies to concentrate on providing assistance to enable LDCs design, control and implement their own changes rather than the funding agencies taking control of this aspect of reform.
In the Gambia, it still worries me that despite the industrialised countries and progressive African countries looking to alternative, greener source of power, we are here stuck with this century-old heavy fuel technological nightmares. How do we expect to be sustainable when after forty years, we still face black and brown outs? I know that the Global Electrical Group is selling power to Nawec which people believe might be partly responsible for the high tariffs. We also know about Gamwind power suppliers in Batokunku who have a better approach to sustainable and cheaper form of electricity production in The Gambia, started the same yet the system has been ignored without an attempt to fully explore its potentials to change the livelihood of the people.
The majority of the system’s machinery that is necessary for production has to be frequently imported from outside, along with spare parts for maintenance. What about the fuel? I have heard it from reliable sources that a country’s level of industrialisation or foreign investment is heavily dependent on its power reliability and sustainability. Imagine how many companies have to invest in the purchase and running of stand-by generators just in case Nawec goes black out or brown out? Oh, I see. Is it also that the generator importers are also benefitting from the power black outs and brown outs?
Laye Bamba Saine
Thank you for giving me the privilege to express my dismay over the photograph of a girl in your paper which accompanied her profile under the “Introducing” segment of your June 17, 2014 Issue.
I am certain that your intent in publishing her profile was to expose her curriculum vitae to prospective employers for possible job opportunities. Instead, her picture projected an image that is neither professional nor flattering. This, of course, placed her in the wrong context in that she appears more like someone on a social outing (party or night club) than a young lady out for serious work.
In case you didn’t know dear, there is a thing called professional attire (a simple, but elegant dress; knee length skirt and blouse; pant slut; shirt and trousers and also our traditional clothes-sophisticated and simple) all of which must be legal length.
I don’t know who was it that said, “A picture is worth a thousand words”; but whoever said it, captured the very sentiment of this letter. And to this end, I urge you to print future Introducing profiles in an appropriate and professional attire that would market her achievements and skills, not sell or disrespect their body.
As a parent to a daughter, I love to see young ladies and women presented in a respectable fashion. Such responsibility lies with all of us, particularly with the business school/training academies who have an obligation to teach their students on proper dress code for work and professional conduct in a business setting.
Mariam (Abigail) Secka