Mr Momodou O. Njie, deputy permanent secretary at the Department of State for Energy has said that reliable, efficient and affordable energy is essential for the country's meaningful development. This is a very true statement and one that we hope that the issue is top of the governments agenda in the coming years. As energy sources are running out the coming years will be a very tough time for people all over the world as rising demand and falling supplies push prices ever higher.
It is heartening however to read the statement of DPS Njie. He said, "Reliable, efficient and affordable energy is essential for country's meaningful development. Thus the government of The Gambia has put energy issues as a key priority in its development agenda. This has made the government to establish a Department of State for Energy in 2007 and task it with ensuring that energy in all its forms are made not only available but also affordable and utilised efficiently."
What appears to be the main thrust of the government's efforts is to involve the private sector. This is a wise move but we must be very careful. The government of The Gambia should have the best intentions of the people of the nation at heart but private companies will only care about how much profit they can make for their shareholders. For this reason we must fight like tigers to ensure that we get the best deals from private companies that will be of greatest benefit to the people of The Gambia.
There have been positive signs in the last few months regarding The Gambia's future energy needs. President Jammeh in his state opening of parliament address recently expressed his worries about the crisis on the state of the Gambian economy.
On Petroleum Development and Mining, the Gambian leader maintained that the country continues to work on track in pursuit of petroleum exploration and development noting it is anticipated that the first drilling would commence in 2010. In the area of mining, he further explained, government is desirous of creating a national mining company. The setting up of this company, he added, is guided by the desire of his government to nationalize the mineral sector with a view to ensure that Gambians more than anyone derive maximum return from our minerals.
These are positive moves and show that we may, if we manage our resources properly, be in a good position when the global energy crisis worsens.
"The greatest of our evils and the worst of our crimes is poverty."
George Bernard Shaw