#Article (Archive)

NAWEC again!

May 23, 2012, 1:59 PM

The electricity supply situation in this country has deteriorated abysmally for the past one month or so. From Banjul to Brikama, people have literally been thrown into darkness, making life very difficult for everyone, especially now that the rainy season and stifling heat has started.

The frequent power cuts these days seem to be strange, in the sense that the National Water and Electricity Company, NAWEC, recently has come to symbolize an enviable success in electricity supply, in the sub region.

What makes the situation even more confusing is the fact that, for the past one week, NAWEC has been running advertisements informing the general public that the Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority (PURA) has approved its application for tariff increase, which will take effect 1st June 2012.

With this, many consumers would expect that NAWEC will improve on its electricity supply with a view to giving the Gambian populace a better service.

As we move towards yet another tourist season, NAWEC should understand that the prolonged blackouts could endanger our tourism sector, which is one of the country’s major foreign exchange earners and employment providers.

As people have had to sleep in oppressive heat at night, health conditions and body temperatures have been running high, with the result that more people are complaining of headaches, asthma and high blood pressure, not to mention the reality that more and more people are likely to be afflicted by malaria.

However, in this dire situation, it is imperative that we ask: What is really the problem?

We were told some time ago that NAWEC is owed over D150 million by area councils and other institutions across the country.

According to the company’s 2008 annual report and financial statement submitted to the Public Accounts/Public Enterprises Committees of the National Assembly, there still remains D150 million owed to the company by certain institutions.

While we do not want to be seen as taking sides with NAWEC, we believe that NAWEC cannot perform its responsibilities with this huge amount of debt being owed to the national utility company by other institutions.

As we have always pointed out in these pages, service delivery at any level is a very demanding business. It requires enough resources, integrity and energy.

Anyone who wants quality service delivery, especially from NAWEC must be willing to pay for the service. To complain of poor quality service delivery, when one does not pay his or her bills on time is really unacceptable, and morally indefensible, especially when one owes huge arrears to NAWEC.

While we also appreciate the fact that the management of NAWEC is doing everything possible to address this problem, we hope that NAWEC will expedite its work to bring the current situation to normality, for the good of the nation and the national economy.

The benefits of having uninterrupted power supply day in day out are too numerous, and a constant energy supply is the pivot of any modern economy.

“I’m not frightened of the darkness outside. It’s the darkness inside houses I don’t like”.