7 December 2012

Liberia: Monrovia's Lighting Project Signed

The governments of the United States of America and Liberia yesterday signed a US$9.1 million agreement to expand "the electricity grid" of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) in Monrovia.

There have been concerns over the failure of LEC to extend its electrification project to some parts of the city.

But during the signing ceremony at LEC's offices in West Point, Deborah Malac, US Ambassador accredited to Liberia, said the money would be "directly" provided to the LEC to carry on the expansion project within the city.

"The U.S government, through the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide US$9.1 million directly to the LEC to expand the electricity grid in Monrovia - both down town and along Tubman Boulevard in Sinkor.

"This agreement will provide electrical service to 7,000 new customers - more than doubling the current number of customers," she disclosed.

She explained that the agreement which reflects the Obama Administration's policy

to support the Paris Declaration, the Accra Agenda for Action and Busan in promoting host country ownership of development process, reflects their confidence in the LEC's "increasing management capacity."

"This is the second such of US government agreements in Liberia. We signed a similar agreement with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare just over a year ago.

"This agreement also reflects our commitment to donor coordination. The US government is working closely with the government of Norway to support LEC's Accelerated transition and Distribution project," she assured.

Amb. Malac however noted that there is still much to be done and urged all stakeholder to continue to work together to improve "this vital pillar in Liberia's development agenda" and promised US government's continuous support to the energy sector.

Also speaking, both Francis Cooper, LEC's Directors of Board Chair and James Kollie, Acting Finance Minister commended the US government for the gesture.

Kollie noted that the development of energy was one of the major priorities of the government. He emphasized that without "a proper energy, all development" programs would be elusive.

"Energy is an important aspect of our agenda for transformation. The argument can go back and forth but if we do not invest into energy and provide cheap electricity to our people, everything we have talked about in terms of transforming our economy would be difficult.

"If we can move this country forward and improve on the lives of our people, then we got to make sure that we bring cheap electricity. This is the number one thing on our agenda," Minister Kollie emphasized.

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