15 November 2012

Liberia: Civil Society Wants BR Power Deal Sign

The Margibi County Civil Society group is calling on the Government of Liberia through the president to speedily approve the revised power plant deal with Buchanan Renewable who will build a 36MW power plant in Kakata, Margibi County to step up electricity grid in the country.

The Secretary General Steven Mulbah who spoke at a news conference yesterday in Margibi County said, the need for power across the country is overwhelming, and at such, the president should see reason to speedily conclude and sign the power plant deal.

His call comes in the wake of delays in approving the BR power plant deal which was first ratified and signed by the president in January 2009, but was later reopened for discussions against the price of power, guarantee for the project from Government, power purchase agreement, and the LEC's ability to take all of the power.

According to the Secretary General, BR Power and OPIC have already presented a number of different options to address these concerns: the price per kw/h was reduced, BR secured deals with industrial users to take part of the power, but BR Power, the Government of Liberia and LEC were still working on finalizing these issues.

He said, records show that BR Power has spent over $US20 million in developing the project including securing financing, leasing land, securing an environmental permit, tendering and negotiating construction contracts, all of which have shown a commitment to developing the project. Mr. Mulbah announced a massive mobilization underway in Kakata by 21 Civil Society institutions to petition the Margibi Legislative Caucus for their intervention.

He also commended the BR Group for the company's ongoing support to technical and vocational education in the county, though upon finalization of the agreement with the government of Liberia, BR Power will provide $50,000 per annum for technical and engineering education in Liberia. The company is currently providing technical training and internships for students from the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Margibi.

At present, over 150 citizens of Margibi County are employed with BR Fuel, the biomass production component of the BR Group.

Since BR'S arrival in Margibi County, the company has helped to maintain community roads, and on a periodic basis they support a number of underprivileged institutions across the county like orphanages and old folks centers as well as homes of the blind.

The company has also provided water facilities at CH Rennie Hospital and other communities in the county.

The civil society leader believes that when the power deal is approved by the Government of Liberia, it will provide the opportunity for more employment across the county. Additionally it will stimulate local business growth across the county as the construction will attract more investment to the local market.

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