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Gov’t seeks more funds to boost power supply, internet facility

Jul 7, 2011, 1:11 PM

The Government of the Gambia has signed two financing agreements with the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for the purchase and leasing of a 20MW power plant under the Brikama II power project and the national ECOWAS-wide Area Network Infrastructure (ECOWAN).

The signing of the two agreements, done on behalf of the Gambia Government by the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mambury Njie, was held at the fringes of the 36th annual meeting of the bank.

A press release from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs said the Brikama II power project is for an amount of US$25, 220, 000 equivalent to GMD 730, 623, 400 of which US$17, 460, 000 equivalent to GMD505, 816, 200 is lease financing mode while the ECOWAN project totaled US$27, 324, 000 million equivalent to GMD 791, 576, 280.

The release added that the proposed ECOWAN program would develop WiMAX last mile infrastructure, and national fiber optic links (817km) from Banjul to Basse in the North Bank and 26 districts from Banjul to Fatoto in the South Bank of the country.

“It will also build the missing/critical fiber network on the North Bank and replace existing obsolete network on the South Bank in the country,” the release said, adding that the project would contribute to national competitiveness, public and private sector productivity and efficiency, and job creation through ICT-led SME growth.

According to the release, the 20MW Brikama II power project consists of the supply, installation and commissioning of a 20MW power plant within an existing power station in Brikama with the erection of a 15,000 metric tonnes heavy fuel oil storage tank farm on a turnkey basis.

The project scope, the release went further, comprises among others the installation and commissioning of two diesel engines of 10MW each with all associated mechanical and electrical ancillaries for the proper operation of the system.

Finance minister Mambury Njie said the government in its bid to address access to reliable and affordable power and telecommunication facilities is delighted to approach Islamic Development Bank for assistance to fund the 20MW Brikama II Power project and Implementation of National Component of the ECOWAN Program The Gambia, which will be implemented by NAWEC and GAMTEL respectively.

He stated that the Gambia government is committed to improving economic and, environmental sustainable growth and regional integration. The finance minister also assured that together, these facilities would improve the economic and social development in the country by improving power supply through additional low cost high powered 20MW generator and through ECOWAN increasing access to reliable, affordable and high speed internet facility.

The release added that the minister of finance commended the president of the bank and his management for the support they continued to extend to The Gambia in meeting her development aspirations and assured the Bank of effective implementation of the signed agreement.

The President of IDB, according to the release, pledged continued support to the Gambia Government given Gambia’s excellent track-record of meeting her debt service obligations and management of funds.

The Finance ministry authorities on behalf of President Yahya Jammeh, the Government and people of the Gambia expressed appreciation with the development partners, and assured them of their readiness to continue to cooperate with them for the benefit of the Gambian people.