Issued: Tuesday 26 March 2018
The National Electricity and Water Company (NAWEC), has engaged SENELEC with the view to having cross border electrification, says its managing director.
The partnership with the Senegalese energy supplier SENELEC according Baba Fatajo, is in line with the regional integration strategy of ECOWAS member countries.
He said the regional block set up a special organisation – the West African Power Pull (WAPP} to harmonise the energy potentials of the region which he said is big and yet to be fully tapped and to provide better and cheaper electricity supply.
Mr. Fatajo further revealed that two of the people who were architects of the WAPP cross border electrification project are Gambians and work for NAWEC.
He revealed that a deal was already in place by 2009 after a master study by WAPP was conducted for NAWEC to have cross border electrification with SENELEC just like other countries did; namely Ghana, Togo and Benin but it was not implemented because there was no political commitment from the former government.
After having a new political environment NAWEC decided to pursue a deal with their Senegalese counterpart, according Mr. Fatjo. “We saw the potential that we can engage our colleagues from Senegal and make it happen that is how the deal came up,” he said. “We started with Kerr Ayeeb and I’m glad to say for this first time in the history of this institution we are able to supply that part of the country 24hrs uninterrupted electricity supply.”
He further stated that the deal enabled the national electricity and water supplier to increase its operational hours in other areas of the country, citing Basse as an example where electricity supply was 15hrs but has now increased to 19hrs.
“The deal is good, we could not get anything better because we have gotten a tariff that even the World Bank was surprised we could negotiated such a deal,” he said. “Even the interconnection that is coming from OMVG what we expected was around 13 U.S. Cent and what we have negotiated is closed to that depending on the fluctuation of the currency.”
He said as a result of the good deal World Bank supported to finance the extensions to make the project practicable, saying it would have raised an alarm had the deal was a bad deal.
Most part of the provincial Gambia is currently enjoying a better electricity supply then the Greater Banjul Areas which is still under the sole supply of NAWEC.