Austine Luseni: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 February 2020:
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay led a high-level delegation of his ministry officials and the country’s electricity generation and distribution agencies on a nationwide tour of Transco Manor River electricity grid facilities that are being constructed across the country.
The tour was an opportunity for the minister and team to make a first-hand assessment of the progress made in completing the Manor River Union electricity grid project which aims at jointly providing reliable electricity to the respective Mano River Union countries – Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Ivory Coast.
The energy minister, together with his delegation spent days on tour, visiting Makeni, Bumbuna, Yiben, Kamakwei , Pujehun and Kenema.
Country Director for Transco – the company supervising the project on behalf of the four Mano River Union Governments – Paul Saffa, took the minister and team on a conductor tour of the various installations and facilities in the areas visited.
Speaking about the current state of the project , Paul Saffa expressed satisfaction with the good working relationship his company has with the minister and his ministry, and praised the government for its relentless support and commitment to completing the project .
The country director told the minister that the project’s mission is to import electricity from Ivory Coast through Liberia and to Sierra Leone and Guinea, through transmission lines, when completed.
“The line between Bumbuna and Yiben is now complete . We are only waiting to connect the line to other stations . The substation at Yiben is also nearing completion and that substation will be connected to Kamakwei from where it will be linked with Guinea,” Saffa assured the energy minister
“The work on the Liberia -Zimmi line is also in progress; and the substations, the towers and the pylons at Zimmi are now coming up with remarkable speed and work rate . The Kenema substation is 100 percent complete in terms of engineering works and is ready to receive power. This station will transmit power to Kono.
“I am pleased to inform you Hon. Minister that between now and March, the three substations of Bumbuna, Bikonko and Kenema will all be fully completed,” Transco’s country director confidently assured the minister .
According to Mr Saffa, they are on course to meeting the deadline of the project by June; and immediately after that, the energization process will start in July, barring any unfortunate circumstances.
The energy minister expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved so far. He said that his monitoring tour is in fulfilment of the agreement among the four countries in respect of the regional connectivity program. He said that he has just returned from Ivory Coast where he attended a very important meeting with other energy ministers and the World Bank.
Energy minister Sesay will embark on a similar tour in a not too distant future . Things can only get better in the energy sector; and the minister has promised not to rest until the entire country is energy secure.