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Sierra Leone Business: EDSA needs 25bn for power supply during the dry season

According to the Chief Finance Officer of the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) Everisto Gwaidza they need 25 billion Leones to supply electricity during the dry season in 2019, adding that in total they want 508 billion Leones to buy and supply power for 2019. He made this disclosure during the annual budget hearing at the Bank Complex in Kingtom. He projected an increase of 23% when compared to the 2018 forecast and 66% when compared to 2017 drafted audited figure. He mentioned that the rise in direct cost, when compared to previous years is because of the continuous engagement of IPP throughout the budget period. Giving a breakdown of the 508 billion, with 214.272 billion Leones to be spent on purchasing power from EGTC, Le247.807 billion for IPP-karpower, Le26.447 billion to be spent on material and maintenance cost and Le 2.285 billion for direct labour cost amongst others costs. He said EDSA is asking the Ministry of Finance to support them with 25 billion Leones, mainly to supply power during the dry season, noting that they will generate revenue from other sources. The Director General of EDSA Milton Ngegbai said the formulation of the strategic plan from 2019-2021 is to address some of the challenges the sector is being faced with that is at the moment supply and demand imbalance, the sustainability of a strong economic growth in any developing country, can only be realised if the power sector meets its mandate amongst many other plans. He said plans are on-going with regards to the electrification of allmost all of the districts in the country ranging from 2019 – 2021, adding that they are working towards meeting the 2030 deadline of the universal access to electricity for all. The Director General said over 7,000 metres are currently available, which they will use in the next three weeks to fix backlog meters and also to address the issue of faulty ones. He said the price of meters is 705,000 Leones and within two weeks of payment, they are sure of their meters. Highlighting the challenges, he noted the illegal abstraction of electricity is impacting negatively on the financial viability of the sector, vandalization of EDSA network asset, currency fluctuation and volatility of oil prices in the international market and the high cost of purchasing power from generation companies to sales of electricity. He said in as much as they have their difficulties but they have made several gains, key amongst them are the installation of a total of 88 distribution transformers installed, constructed 64km 11kv O/H line, the energy access project and the ECOWAS emergency distribution project, which is on-going. The Principal Deputy Financial Secretary Mathew Dingie commended EDSA for their succinct, presentation after they were previous rejected. He said “you have now treated the process with respect by following the lay down procedures.”

By Mohamed J. Bah

Monday October 01, 2018.

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