President Adama Barrow over the weekend commissioned a newly installed $28.4M power plant in Brikama, West Coast Region, The commissioning of the 20MW power plant was part of activities making the country’s 56 Independence Anniversary.
The project is jointly funded by the government of The Gambia and its development partner, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).The project contractor is STX Heavy Industries of South Korea.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Barrow said: “The occasion adds to the ample evidence of my government’s commitment to our 2021 Energy Roadmap and National Development Plan. The addition of twenty (20) Mega Watts to our electricity generation capacity will significantly address the country’s power capacity gaps and serve as a catalyst to achieve and maintain regular electricity supply for the entire Gambian nation.”
This Power Plant project, he added, resulted from the government’s belief that energy is a key driver of economic development. Thus, it has to serve a leverage to raise living standards and reduce poverty in the country.
According to him, the project stands out as another means of accelerating the country’s key infrastructure investments to empower Gambian citizens through access to essential services.
“It is only through such huge development strides that we can attain and sustain the level of economic growth we desire. The rapid increase in the generation capacity of NAWEC and the expansion of its service within the past four years has been quite tactical. We are convinced it takes such innovative strategies to rekindle hopes and uplift the living standards of our people.”
The increasing demand for power, arising from the expansion of economic activities in the country, Barrow said, also makes it compelling for government to redouble efforts in the energy sector. “The strategy is to gradually replace the old generator sets with reliable ones and maintain a single national grid.”
“Besides providing sustainable energy for all, it is equally necessary to work towards cost-reflective electricity tariffs in a systematic manner and within the right regulatory framework. We remain committed to the socio-economic development objectives as outlined in our National Development Plan (NDP), the AU 2063 Agenda and the AU/EU partnership for Green Transition and Energy Access. Accordingly, the energy sector has a critical role to play for the realisation of these development mileposts.”
“To this end, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is establishing an Energy Platform to exploit sustainable energy solutions in order to propel agricultural development, facilitate trade and promote digital inclusion, among other objectives. We are also working with our development partners to mitigate the effects of climate change, increase our renewable energy uptake and improve energy efficiency in our homes, institutions and businesses.”
“Let me stress that my government will keep up the momentum of infrastructure development countrywide. To stir economic growth, we need good roads, bridges, schools and hospitals among others. All these developments require regular and reliable electricity supply. Therefore, this occasion marks a key milestone for the nation in the long quest for steady power supply.”
“Alongside increasing the generation capacity of electricity are other projects to step up access, and expand the transmission and distribution network within a reinforced and reliable system. These measures will improve supply, increase customer connections and support investments.”