Apr 8, 2009, 6:29 AM
Minister of Tourism Hamat Bah said the coalition government has inherited a
chronic mechanical problem at the National Water and Electricity Company
(NAWEC) which requires over 6 million euros to fix.
“A mechanical problem requiring 6 million euros to fix, one week of fuel reserve and badly damaged generators were all we found at NAWEC,” he said while speaking at an Islamic conference in Bjilo at the weekend where he represented the government along the president’s special adviser on good governance and religious matters, Dembo Bojang.
“We had to search for funds to fix the problem as soon as we assumed office but the repair works are near completion at the power stations now,” he added.
Hon. Bah was reacting to calls by Imam Tafsir Gaye of Banjul for prayers to government to be able to fix the recurrent power problem facing the country.
The Imam also called for patience from the population, saying “the new government just assumed office and has been embarking on a difficult reconstruction process”.
However, the tourism minister said the Gambia’s chronic power problem had been in the country for 52 years and people should not expect President Adama Barrow to fix that within five months.
“However, there are ongoing deals to boost our national electricity production capacity with new generators on top of the already existing ones. Once complete, the perennial power problems will be a thing of the past for the population,” he assured.
“We signed a deal with Senegalese electricity company, Senelec, to purchase surplus electricity at minimum costs and then use that to supply the entire rural Gambia while works continue to fix our own.
“Once that is complete, we will resume supplying countrywide and even generate surplus that we can export to countries like Bissau.”
The Senegalese ambassador to The Gambia, Prof. Saliou Ndiaye, reiterated that The Gambia and Senegal are one.
“Anything that one of us can offer to the other, the two governments will work on modalities in ensuring it is done for the interest of both of our people,” he said.