Energy Minister Renews Call for Liberalisation of Electricity Sector

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By Assan Bah & Amadou Manjang

Minister of Petroleum and Energy (MoPE), Mr Nani Juwara, has called for further liberalisation of the Gambia’s electricity market.

According to the Minister, NAWEC should only act as a wholesale buyer, network infrastructure manager, and electricity distributor. 

He made these remarks during the stakeholders’ consultative validation workshop on NAWEC’s water and electricity separation on Tuesday, 11th June 2024 at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre in Bijilo.

He said the consultation workshop will offer the opportunity to guide the major decisions of the government of the Gambia to direct the future operations of the management of NAWEC.

“In the ‘Yiriwa’ the recovery focus National Development Plan the government has highlighted universal access to renewable energy and energy policy, legal and regulatory frameworks as privately intervention areas in the NDP,” he said.

According to Juwara, before the ‘Yiriwa’, the Gambia government developed the Gambia strategic electricity road-map as a guide for the transformation of the electricity sub-sector seeking to achieve universal access by 2025 through the exploration of least-cost electricity generation options and increasing the high penetration of variable renewable energy.

“The Gambia has recently recorded significant gains in the power sector with the help of our development partners by achieving at least up to 63% access level,” he added.

He said they are being guided by the drive for improvement of operational deficiency and leveling the playing field to encourage private sector participation in the power sector.

“The government of the Gambia intends to de-couple the water and electricity business of NAWEC,” he stressed.  

The policy for the decoupling was first highlighted in the 2015 – 2020 national electricity plan and emphasised in the 2021 updated national electricity subsector strategic roadmap.

“With a robust power sector, we can unlock a brighter future for national development. Let us get ready for a better Gambia with better utility services,” he concluded.