By Ebrima Jallow
Officials of the Gambia River Basin Development Organisation, organised a visit with members of the media last week exploring progresses registered at various OMVG project sites in the country.
The two-day press visit, led by OMVG officials from The Gambia and Senegal, seeks to get first-hand information on progress made in the implementation of the energy project and the positive impacts on the lives of the people living within those areas – West Coast and Lower River regions.
The group visited construction line L7, Brikama, Soma substations and storage sites, and the Vinci TTE storage camp in Kanfenda village.
Bai Lamin Sillah, national coordinator of the OMVG Project, said the purpose of the visit was to brief the media about ongoing works at project sites.
“Electricity supply in these areas will boost economic growth,” he said.
Saikou Sanyang, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, said the OMVG project aims to reinforce cooperation and regional integration by exploiting and using wisely the potential of the hydroelectric resources of the four member countries three river basins.
“The OMVG energy project consists of the construction of the Sambangalou Hydroelectric dam with an installed capacity of 128 MW and a 225-KV power transmission line stretching across 1,677 km with 15 high voltage/medium voltage substations and 2 dispatching centres. The commissioning is expected to be in September 2020,” he said.
Demba Jallow, team leader, national monitoring committee of the OMVG energy project, said the project will be a turning point in the energy sector of the country. He said the benefits of the project as alluded to far overweight some of the perceived negative consequences.
He said: “All the people who are affected by the project are also project beneficiaries. Indeed people are very happy because this has never happened in this country; to have an energy project and everybody who is affected by the project getting compensated adequately. ”
He said donors are supporting the project to ensure clean and cheaper energy is delivered to the people, in contrast to Nawec.
“Nawec uses fuel but here, we are use water to generate electricity. We need this kind of power which will open the electricity market of West Africa to The Gambia. This is a very essential infrastructure we expect to have in this country,” he said.
Officials say D15,477,985 has been paid as compensation to people affected by the project. The project is set for completion next November.
The OMVG is a sub-regional organisation co-founded by former Senegalese poet-President Leopold Senghor, and Gambia’s first President Dawda K Jawara, on June 30th 1978. The organisation consist of The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.
The OMVG Energy project aims to reinforce regional integration and cooperation by wisely using and exploiting the shared hydroelectric resources in The Gambia, Kayanga-Geba and Koliba-Corubal river basins.