By Ndey Sowe
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has on Saturday, 20th February, 2021 inaugurated the 28.44 million US dollars 20 Mega Watts power plant in Brikama, West Coast Region.
Out of the overall cost of the aforementioned power plant, 22 million US dollars was funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). The project’s main objective is to bridge the electricity demand and supply gap in the Greater Banjul Area.
President Barrow said the inaugural ceremony is part of activities marking the 56th Independence Anniversary of The Gambia, saying it showed the ample evidence of his Government’s commitment to the country’s 2021 Energy RoadMap and National Development Plan.
Barrow added that the occasion marks a key milestone for The Gambia’s steady improvement in power supply
“My government is aware of the fact that despite significant improvements on access to electricity since 2017, there remains a considerable portion of our population without electricity supply,” he said.
To address this, President Barrow said they are collaborating with development partners and his government will in the next three years create electricity access to over six hundred and eighty-five communities countrywide.
“Our target is universal access by 2025 which is earlier than the 2030 sustainable energy for all. I am happy to observe that so far most of the priorities of the NDP and the 2017 energy road map are been successfully fulfilled. This puts the energy sector on a firm footing for bigger successes,” he said.
Fafa Sanyang, the Minister for Petroleum and Energy, said the project will increase domestic electricity generation to meet the growing electricity demand in the county.
“In terms of access, the national electrification target is to reach 60% by the end of this year and universal access by 2025,” he said.
Nani Juwara, Director General of National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), revealed that the project is the second phase of the power generation expansion programme in the Greater Banjul Area funded by the Islamic Development Bank and the Gambia Government.
Juwara said the first phase was about 8.9MW commissioned in 2011 and contracted to WARTSILA from Finland.
“The two generators (engines) are MAN dual-fuel technology with the needed inbuilt proviso for gas. Both generators are new and were manufactured by MAN- Germany, which is one of the leading engine manufacturing companies in the world,” he said.
NAWEC MD Juwara said the EPC contractor for this project was initially awarded to STX Heavy Industries of South Korea and Global Trading Group of Belgium as a consortium.
He commended JAH OIL for partnering with STX Heavy Industries and for successfully competing what he called the magnificent state of the earth facility for The Gambia.
Georges Abboud, JAH OIL Project Manager who spoke on behalf of the project contractor, said the event was a big accomplishment that will open the door for continuing and expanding progress.
He added that the project will not only bring a major change in the economic life of Gambians, but it will also serve as an inspiring model of how such change can best be accomplished.
Lamin Sanneh, Governor of West Coast Region (WCR), said the event was a moment of joy and sober reflection of what have been realized since the country attained self-rule.
“The inauguration of a 20 megawatts power plant in Brikama is not only remarkable, but quite significant. Therefore, we must wholeheartedly congratulate the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for coming very near to achieving their target as indicated in their sectorial plan,” he said.
Sanneh said without full supply of affordable electricity, the development of the country will hardly be realized.