16 November 2012

Gambia: Rural Electrification Project - Kombo East Villagers Concerned

Inhabitants in the villages of Basori, Gidda, Talokoto and Giboroh Koto in the Kombo East District are complaining of being left out by the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) in its Rural Electrification Project coverage. According to them, they are not benefiting from the electrification project even though the electricity lines have passed through their villages on the Mandinaba -Seleti road to supply settlements like Mandinaba,

Tubakuta and Giboroh Kuta. They said they want to know the reason why their villages have not been covered as they are equally tax payers.

"If the electricity stopped before our village (Basori), then we can understand, but it came and skipped us and the other villages of Madina Kolokoto and Gidda and go straight to Giboro Koto", said one of the villagers.

When the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) was contacted on the complaints, Mr. Pierre Silva, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), said the West Coast Rural Electrification Project is implemented on the basis of phases and that it has phase one and two. He said work that was done before the rainy season was phase one which targeted villages on the highway which is still in progress after a break during the rains. He said they use heavy machines to do their work which cannot operate when the ground is wet.

According to Mr. Silva, NAWEC is a Gambia government owned company and that the West Coast Rural Electrification Project is funded by NAWEC. He said NAWEC is mandated to supply water and electricity services to settlements in the country. He denied that NAWEC is discriminating some villages for any reason whatsoever.

The NAWEC PRO cited Kitty village as an example where 5te installation have phases but that the first phase which is called Kity One was not supplied even though it was closer to Brikama where the electricity supply comes from. He said their field-workers are now going back to those villages which were skipped to erect poles.

PRO Sylva said NAWEC is an investment company and for this reason they invest and expect to make profit at the end of the day. He explained that before they supply electricity to any settlement they would first conduct a feasibility study to determine the location, earning capacity of the potential consumers and other technical considerations.

He however assured the residents of the said villages on the high way that are yet to be electrified that the work will resume soon and that they will be covered.

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