Sierra Leone Government (Freetown)

22 July 2014

Sierra Leone: In Restructuring the Energy Sector, Pres. Koroma Calls for a New Approach

President Ernest Bai Koroma has on Monday 21st July 2014 called for a new and holistic approach in addressing problems of the energy sector by unbundling distribution and transmission in the said ministry.

President Koroma made the declaration while addressing newly appointed ministers, during a swearing-in ceremony at State House, Freetown, where he spoke of the need to enhance access to energy for Sierra Leoneans.

According to President Koroma government has identified and prioritized needs of the sector adding that "we know that we can only transform this country when we have adequate energy."

He said even when government has made some amount of improvements in the generation, transmission and distribution, because of increasing demand from consumers' access to energy.

"By unbundling the sector we will not treat distribution, and transmission separately; we are going to take a holistic approach by unbundling so that we can enhance the efficiency of the sector as there is now a section in the ministry charged with the task of distribution and transmission," he said.

The President viewed that unbundling strategy will to some extent help to transmit energy with a supply system that will have the responsibility to ensure the distribution of power supply to the various locations.

President Koroma said; "We have a great challenge. We have to develop the national grid in the country; we have to increase access of energy to people. We are not only going to limit ourselves in the district headquarter towns but also the communities nation-wide. Now that there are growing opportunities and growing demands, Freetown requires more than 100 megawatts."

He disclosed that companies are developing; the mining sector is growing and that is why government has targeted access to at least produce something to the region of a thousand megawatts in 2017, which he described as a great responsibility to produce and distribute to the final consumer. He expressed hope that the new ministers assigned to the energy sector will live up to the expectations of government and the people.

President Koroma noted that if government is able to meet the demands of the energy sector, the development of the country will be fast tracked.

"We don't want to get to the point where in our development will be constrained by the lack of energy any longer. This is why it is a huge task that you have faced and immediately after your swearing-in we are going to have an immediate general energy meeting," said President Koroma.

Meanwhile President Koroma told the Resident Minister East Mr. Maya Kaikai that; "we have a relative peace and quietness everywhere in the Eastern region, adding that he is going out there as a political head, representing the Presidency in all aspects of the region.

Additionally, President Koroma said "we have this issue of the Ebola outbreak that is affecting the Eastern region."

He therefore entreated Minister Kaikai to intensify sensitization campaigns on prevention and cure of the Ebola outbreak.

The President confirmed 405 cases being recorded by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of which 133 deaths have been reported, noting that what is encouraging is the number of people that have been discharged is on the increase and as at Sunday 20th July; "we have 96 discharged cases which tells us that if you report as soon as you experience the symptoms, the possibility of survival is there.

He admonished news Resident Minister East to focus on sensitizing the people out there.

He encouraged all that there is a possibility of survival even after the infection but warned against harbouring people with the disease even as relatives or nurses as harbouring such people is an offence under the Public Health Ordinance of 1960.

President Koroma said the only way to help stop the spread of Ebola is by isolating those that have already been affected, treat them to ensure that they don't affect others.

"Let me confirm that the three cases in Freetown that have been confirmed are cases we can directly link to Kenema. And we have one death - a case from Macauley, cases taken back to Kenema and the case of the Lebanese also from Kenema. The other case was reported at Rokupa in the East end of Freetown. The Ministry has made some successes on locating the first port of call in Freetown and we have proven that those he contacted have proven positive but were ensured that they are all now in Kenema for treatment," disclosed President Koroma.

The President expressed optimism that within the next couple of weeks, or so we will put the whole issue of Ebola behind us. He called on all to work together as Sierra Leoneans in the fight against the Ebola outbreak and encouraged all not to protect anybody that is infected with the disease.

By way of rendering the vote thanks, the Minister of Energy, Ambassador Henry Macauley extended profound gratitude to President Koroma for the confidence reposed in him and assured government that they will do their best by ensuring that the darkness of Sierra Leone be put to the past.

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