The minister of Presidential Affairs and the Head of the Civil Service, Dr Njogou Bah, last Thursday presided over the opening ceremony of a one-day validation forum on the development of electricity strategy and action plan and renewable energy law for The Gambia.
The forum was organised by the Ministry of Energy at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.
In his speech, Dr Njogou Bah, said the electricity strategy and renewal energy law which on enactment with set the enabling environment and framework for promoting renewable energy based mini-grids for productive user in the rural areas of the Gambia by the European union and other development partners under the GEF-UNIDO project.
According to Dr Bah, the Gambia energy use has increased dramatically and the country suffers from significant energy deficits.
He said the energy consumption has been increasing at a relatively fast rate due to population growth and economic development even though the base rate maybe somehow low.
Dr Bah also stated that on government policy, whilst the presence of national energy policy is widely perceived as effective, there is sometimes a basic lack of understanding on implementation strategy.
He said that on regulatory instrumental, feed-in-tariff are widely considered the most effective tools for implementing effective government policies in place as effective regulatory instrumental are necessary.
Dr Bah also asserted that the electricity and action plan being devised and under review during the forum provides the Government of The Gambia vision for increased and improved modern energy supply for sustainable economic development as well as improving the quality of life of the populace.
For her part, Agnes Guillaud, Charge d'Affairs of the European Union, said the design of the law and the strategy have been proposed by the consultant MERCARDOS and funded by the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility, the EUEI-PDF.
She said the technical assistance they are providing to the country seeks to provide The Gambia with legal and regulatory framework required to attract private companies to invest in the renewable energy sector.
According to her, if validated, the act will provide the legal framework to the Gambia for an efficient promotion of the use of renewable energy resources.
Therefore, she continued, this can be considered as a major milestone in the development of renewable energy, identified as a priority in the PAGE 2012-2015 by the Government of the Gambia.
She said that the current high dependency on fuel in The Gambia leads to several extremely negative consequences such as limiting the financial capacities of stakeholders and also makes it difficult for Gambians to afford electricity.