President Julius Maada Bio and Minister Of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay has today 23, December commissioned the new TRANSCO CLSG Electricity connection for Bo and Kenema.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has reiterated the critical significance of electricity towards national development by telling Sierra Leoneans that more electricity would mean more economic activity and better jobs,profitable private capital investments,increased manufacturing and technological capacity and better quality of life in general.

His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio was speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the TRANSCO CLSG Interconnections at Tiloma-a development that would give Kenema and Bo a new lease of life in the area of electricity.

It could be recalled that on 1st and 17th December 2021 respectively,the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Energy and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority,EDSA,signed the Power Purchase and Transmission Service Agreements with the Government of Còte d’Ivoire and TRANSCO CLSG in that order to enable Sierra Leone import electricity from Còte d’Ivoire and for the latter to export same.

Welcoming the President and other dignitaries,Paramount Chief of Nongowa Chiefdom,PC Sadiq Kapuwa,said his chiefdom,region and people couldn’t be more delighted with the development,noting that Kenema was now in the vanguard of transformative developments in Sierra Leone,with Kenema,Bo and Kono set to become the trident envy of the country.

He said the development would lubricate the rusty wheels of industrial and economic development in his district and region and assured the President that his people would definitely reciprocate the concern and care he had shown.

Addressing the gathering before officially switching on the CLSG electricity at Tiloma, President Julius Maada Bio thanked development partners-the World Bank,the African Development Bank,GiZ and the international community for supporting the project to completion,adding that they had shared his Government’s view that the lack of accessible,reliable,and affordable electricity was a constraint to economic growth and national development.

“So for us,as a Government,more energy-especially sustainable and affordable energy-sits well with our country’s development needs and our development agenda. Energy is indeed a critical cross-enabler and a critical driver of development,” President Bio stated,noting that his Government was more than eager to use the network to attract investments in small scale manufacturing,agriculture,the service sector,and other small and medium enterprises.

He said his Government had put in place a number of incentives for private companies that seek to locate to rural or peri-urban areas,stressing further that he was of the firm conviction that the availability of electricity,land and skilled and educated youthful populations in Kenema and Bo would make that decision easier for private investors.

President Bio concluded by thanking TRANSCO CLSG,CI Energies/CIE,the Ministry of Energy,EDSA,and EGTC for working hard to ensure the realization of what he described as “a milestone event”.

Speaking at the ceremony,Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay,thanked President Bio for his unwavering support towards him,recalling how the President had stood by him and defended him in the heat of criticisms from the general public, adding that he was filled with a great sense of relief and satisfaction that Bo and Kenema were now going to enjoy reliable electricity on a 24-hour basis.

“Your Excellency, I am proud to say that under your visionary leadership,we have moved from 11% access in 2018 to about 31% currently. Under the Rural Electrification component of the CLSG project,we will electrify some 27 communities along the transmission line corridor…..This will be a transformative process in the lives of our rural folks,who will no doubt seize this opportunity to elevate themselves out of poverty,” Mr. Sesay noted.

He spoke about the huge investments Government had made towards the project in the forms of tax waivers,provision of liquid cash,and EDSA’s capital payment to CLSG and urged consumers and the different communities to pay their bills and to become watchdogs by reporting instances of electricity theft and improper connections.

General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG,Mohamed Sheriff,said he was happy to be at the launch of the interconnections,noting that it was in 1999 that the West African Power Pool was created and a Master Plan adopted to ensure social and economic development in the region.

He praised the Ministries of Finance and Energy for superintending over the completion of three of the five substations in Sierra Leone,adding that the remaining two substations at Yiben and Kamakwei would be completed in June 2022.

His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio later went to the Bo Substation to switch on the light.

It could be recalled that on December 1,2021, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, witnessed the signing ceremony of the Power Purchase Agreement in Abidjan-an agreement that would enable Cote d’Ivoire export electricity to Sierra Leone and for Sierra Leone to import same. The signing of this Transmission Service Agreement is a procedural sequel or corollary to the Power Purchase Agreement.

TRANSCO CLSG General Manager, Mohamed M. Sheriff, who signed on behalf of his company, commended Sierra Leone for its commitment and support to the realization of the regional power project, noting that the country had accelerated and completed works on some of its key substations.

The president also showcase the special efforts he made to make the projects a reality. He pointed out that he had to send The Vice President Juldeh Jalloh to meet with the Ivorian President to fast track the project implementation .

The President further emphasized  the need for residents of Kenema and Bo to pay electricity bills and discourage people from fidgeting  electricity meters.

The Minister of Energy and Power Alhaji Kanja Sesay  also buttress the need for electricity consumers to pay their bills and serve as watch dogs for unscrupulous  people not to damage the new facility. He further appeals to the World Bank and the African Development Bank to increase their support for the expansion of the rural electrification project.

The cities of Bo and Kenema will be the the first to experience this massive electricity load that will be pushed into Sierra Leone coming from a mixture of thermal and hydro energy. Sierra Leone’s government went the extra financial mile to not only bring this project back on track but to expedite it up to this point where it is about to be switched on.