President Bio switches on electricity in Bo and Kenema – ending years of darkness

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 December 2021:

Yesterday, President Dr Julius Maada Bio officially switched on the Côte d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea electricity interconnection line at Teloma, bringing power to his political heartland in the south and east of the country.

Approximately 530km, 225 kV power line now serves seven districts across Sierra Leone – Pujehun, Kenema, Kono, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Bombali, Kambia and Karene, according to TRANSCO CLSG, the regional power interconnection facility owner and transmission service provider.

According to President Bio, “the lesson from developing economies is simple. More electricity means more economic activity and better jobs, more profitable private capital investments, increased manufacturing and technological capacity, increased food production, more innovation, better healthcare and education, greater use of telecommunications, and better quality of life in general,” as he thanked the World Bank, the African Development Bank, GiZ and the international community for supporting the project to completion/

The President noted that the lack of accessible, reliable, and affordable electricity is a constraint to economic growth and national development.

“So, for us, as a Government, more energy – especially sustainable and affordable energy, sits well with our country’s development needs and agenda. Energy is indeed a critical cross-enabler and  driver of development.

“We are, therefore, eager to use the network to attract investments in small scale manufacturing, agriculture, the service sector, and other small and medium enterprises that enhance the value-chain in diverse areas of the country,” he said.

President Bio further said that his Government has put in place a number of incentives for private companies seeking to locate to rural or peri-urban areas, adding that the availability of electricity, land, skilled and educated youthful population in Kenema and Bo could make that decision easier for private investors.

“Let me also thank the teams from TRANSCO CLSG, CI Energies/CIE, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Finance, EDSA, and EGTC. We owe you a debt of gratitude for working really hard to ensure today’s milestone event. Thank you,” he said.

General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG, Mohamed Sheriff, recalled that within its master plan, the West African Power Pool has planned to accelerate several regional interconnection line projects, including a transmission line to interconnect the states of Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinéa.

“The CLSG Project is a multinational investment operation and is financed by 4 donors namely, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the KfW and the African Development Bank.

“The four beneficiary countries have provided counterpart fundings for the payments of Resettlement Action Plans and Interest accrued during construction and duty-free concessions,” he said.

Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay said: “Your Excellency, I am proud that through your visionary leadership, we have moved from 11% electricity access in 2018 to 31% currently. Under the Rural Electrification Component of the CLSG project, we will electrify some 27 communities along the transmission line corridor, including Teloma, Hanga Town, Panderu, Ngelehun Mano Junction, Largoh, Ngeihun, Panguma, Gorahun, Gbeworbu, Gegbema, Jewahun, Levuma and many more.”

He added that the advent of electricity would be a transformative process in the lives of people in the rural communities, who will no doubt seize the opportunity to elevate themselves out of poverty.

“Your Excellency Sir, as you are aware, we have spent quite a considerable amount of finances on this project in the form of duty and tax waivers, provision of liquid cash payments for the compensation of Project Affected Persons and the EDSA’s capital payment to TRANSCO CLSG.

“This is a manifestation of our commitment to ensuring that this project is successful. As a government, we are painfully aware that electricity is not free. Good, affordable, 24-hour electricity to these towns and surrounding villages, will require pledges by all consumers to pay, and at the same time, to become watchdogs to report instances of theft and improper connections anywhere,” he urged.

11 Comments

  1. Sierra Leone consumers must not cheated with unbearable cost of electricity as compared to other countries of electricity rates. Let it be a win-win situation for producers and consumers energy strife. No bad neighbors can put our citizens into bad deals. Be warned! I believe in Sierra Leone to Independence Energy capabilities. Why Bumbuna Hydro Power is the Longest Energy Uncompleted Project in the world??

  2. Thanks for this brilliant piece of yours, Young4na. You have made an objective, fair and detailed assessment of the roles played by preceding administrations and by their current successor in making the delivery of electricity to our Southern and Eastern cities of Bo and Kenema a reality – a very welcome and praiseworthy one indeed.

    In particular, thanks for putting the records straight, thereby by calling out the political obfuscation and obscurantism being peddled by Paopa propagandists and praise singers. They would have us believe that the entire project, from its inception to its conclusion, has been their handiwork alone. What disingenuousness!

  3. I think it’s time for president Bio to start sacking his advisers who are misleading him. No one will convince me that President Bio will publicly say things that are not right. The President informed us that Sierra Leone is the first country to have energised its electricity from TRANSCO CSLG. He even challenged us to go and find out. According to one article, I found out that it was not a valid statement after doing my research. Ladies and gentlemen, read this article – https://www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/transmission-and-distribution/transco-clsg-energises-lines-and-accelerates-electricity-access/

    If what is said in this article is true, then whoever should have advised the President in making that statement must be sacked. The time has come to go after the advisers advising the President wrongly. I also have frustration in other areas. Take the audit report, for example. I supported the idea that the government should not send corrupt people to jail but refund what they stole from the government and continue with their job if possible. The government should now change course because the problem worsens every year. Corrupt officials squandering peoples money should pay and go to jail. Impunity should end now. Other areas of concern to me is the censors and the exams results problems between WAEC and the ministry of education. I supported that people should allow themselves to be counted because holding a censor at any time is not illegal. The problem with this one will be the outcome. If there are controversies regarding the results, President Bio should sack all those involved in advising him on that front.

    The Minister of education should talk with WAEC concerning the results standoff. He can’t just make changes overnight even though what he is trying to do is good. My advice to him is to make sure that the students and parents don’t become victims of his idea. Finally, we should start identifying the government’s bad actors, criticise and expose them for their misleading information to the presidency—frustrating and tiresome stuff. What is wrong with sacking dishonest and rogue government officials? Sucking my teeth. God bless Sierra Leone and the presidency.

  4. The arrival of uninterrupted electricity in Bo and Kenema is most certainly an important development that cannot be minimised, given the decades of near complete darkness which the people have been going through in those communities – they’re not much different from Freetown and the rest of the country.

    President Bio happens to be the man in office for this phase of WAPP, and so like a typical striker , who receives a timely pass from the midfielder, he has only had to rock his bottom to get passed the defenders and slam the ball into the net. “Bio don score “ is all people are now saying, much to the bewilderment of Earnest Koroma and APC.

    Earnest Koroma tried to pour scorn on the issue the other day by describing it as “political arrogance “ without elaborating. Perhaps when he has time to elaborate he may cut short Bio’s victory lap. I doubt it, because I have never seen him as a good and timely communicator, not even in the middle of a crisis.

  5. In the eyes of many patriotic Sierra Leoneans, it’s always a welcoming news to hear reports of an actual delivery of services such as road network, electricity, water, etc to any region of our nation. With all the abundance of natural resources at our disposal, one will think successive governments over the decades should have taken care of these basic necessities needed for any nation to thrive.

    Notwithstanding, we must acknowledge meaningful steps, and provide accolades to actual achievements. In light of this, credit must be given to all stakeholders who were involved in making this achievement possible. Special thanks goes to the previous Kabbah regime officials whom i was made to understand initiated this project, with the Koroma regime taking over, putting in place all the major groundwork, which encompasses the signing, procurement and installation of the majority of the cables and transformers, with the Bio regime finally taking over, resulting to actual power being deliver to citizens of Bo and Kenema, with other districts soon to follow.

    As we all know, governance and development are always a continuity. Projects such as this transnational electricity are always bound to take years to accomplish. We can compare this to a 4 x 400 meters relay, which requires each runner-up, to play his/her role during the interim period when the baton is handed over to him/her, if the team is to declare a winner. With all hands on deck, all participants are awarded the medal if meaningful result are achieve at the end. So it’s highly deceptive and disingenuous when corrput, crooked politicians and their bootlickers always try to play into gullible supporters in taking credit for something they might have contributed very little to achieve.

  6. You can live with out electricity, but as a nation you can’t thrive with out electricity. This government and TRANSCO and other international energy suppliers partnerships are welcomed. The timing of the announcement is bit suspect, because Bio’s government have mastered the habit of burying bad news with good news. It all depends on what is making the news headlines and its effects on his government popularity. Talk of diverting public attention that question his government failure to tackle corruption, and out right ethnic cleansing with in our public services sector is an understatement. Political maneuvering for public consumption is never far below the surface of how Boi wants to be seen in the public sphere. Righrly so his government has take some kicking, since he decided to preempt the auditors report by taken the brazier decision of suspending Mrs Lara Thomas. Rightnow the dominant news item, that seems to throw a spanner in the works, is the 2020 audit report.

    At same time, this latest development is welcome. Yes we need energy and reliable energy to help develop our country. For far too long it has been the main barrier to our country’s undevelopment needs. Some business factor it as the main hindrances for direct foreign investment. With out it business will not able to operate or even planned for the feature. Hospitals, your mobile phone, electronic gadgets will not work. Without energy, it limits the potential for growth opportunities, hamper the creativity industry, ability to set up a business, access to information, credit, government grants, selling your products, especially for farmers in the provinces, access to markets for your products, job opportunities, and being placed in position of not knowing the latest government requirements and regulations of how to implement the new tax regime imposed by the government.

    Many businesses cite the lack of electricity or reliable electricity, that stop them expanding their businesses. You cannot operate your business relying surely on tiny little stand by generators. They are expensive and a fire hazards. So Bio should double down on investing on electricity. Then the rest will follow.

  7. Yeah. The axis and road to victory in the 2023 Presidential elections sound alarmed. These areas – Pujehun, Kenema, Kono, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Bombali, Kambia and Karene, are the ones president Bio needs to be competitive to win the next Presidential elections. He does not need to win massively. So, bringing blast minute development to those areas is crucial politically to President Bio. However, it depends on the opposition parties’ candidates to confront President Bio in the next Presidential elections. Is the opposition aware that this tour was to commission the electrification of Kenema and Bo and a campaign strategy and second presidential bid promotion? Did you listen to and hear that firing speech by Honourable Kekura Vandy?

    It seems to me that there is transparency in the ministry of energy. Attention!! Hon Kekura Vandy is one of the SLPP champions to watch. In my view, he is a leader and has joined the ranks of Chief Sam Sumana, Ms Femi Cole, Mayor Aki Sawyer, Fatmata Sawaneh, etc. This was what he said, if I’m not mistaken, “he has said what he should say in his family or native area”, but he has to go to his inlaws and talk to them”. Maybe his wife is a northerner. You see, he is someone who can reach the other side of the political divide. President Bio must appoint SLPP champions as Ministers and not friends or those who don’t have a clue about government matters. NONSENSE!

    Ladies and gentlemen, let’s stop talking about parties in the presidential elections. Let’s elect leaders. I don’t give a dam to party business in presidential elections. You can elect your representative on party lines but vote for a leader for the presidency. If the leader of your party will be bad for the country, don’t vote for them. Finally, this is an excellent development project by the Bio administration. We must all be proud of it and support the president in his development agenda. We can always criticise his government responsibly where they go wrong and cross the red line. That’s my take from this article. God bless Sierra Leone.

  8. Congratulations to our citizens for this positive development. May the Almighty continue to bless President Talk and Do Bio for fulfilling one of his Manifesto promises. The unfortunate scenario is, although he is trying his best to electrify even the strongholds of the APC party where most transformers and cables have been destroyed, I doubt if most of the APC members and supporters will allow him to succeed, based on the fact that it will be an advantage for the SLPP during the upcoming presidential election. As far as the APC are concerned, they are now doing whatever it takes to destroy our country, including the recent MCC program achieved by the New Direction government.
    Finally, I hope and pray that our citizens will use the same money that they used to spend on fuel for their generators, pan lamps and batteries for lights to pay their monthly light bills. Be patriotic and help Papa government instead of stealing electricity. The links below are proofs to show the destructive nature of the APC propagandists with regards to the MCC score :
    https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/united-states-signs-217-million-agreement-to-build-new-electricity-plant-in-sierra-leone/
    http://cocorioko.net/what-is-the-hold-up-to-sierra-leone-being-cleared-to-start-receiving-millennium-challenge-corporation-mcc-480-million-compact-award-bounty/

  9. “Happy is the man the seek wisdom and the man that has understanding” . Happy are the Sierra Leoneans who believes that this light (TRANSC CLSG) as a success story for Sierra Leone and that Sierra Leonean who can understand the untapped benefits this project will impact on ordinary lives of Sierra Leoneans. Thank you Mr. President Dr Julius Maada Bio for making it to be possible through God’s help. Wishing you Mr. President Happy Christmas and all.

  10. One down. Many more to go. Thank you Mr. President. In as much as the citizens of the BO and Kenema Districts are happy for this significant achievement, yet still the rest of the country are still in darkness.

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