Critical Thinking: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 July 2018:
There must be a difference between former electricity minister Henry Macauley’s administration under the APC and Kanja Sesay’s leadership under the New Direction. But it doesn’t seem so. Is Minister Kanja Sesay an accomplice to revenue sabotage?
Take a look at the picture of the long line of EDSA customers queuing from the first flow of NPA House right into the streets. And under rain. And no other alternatives. Because the vendor systems and mobile money can’t access the server.
What is the Minister of Energy doing to make it 10,000 times easier for people to recharge their meters and for government to rapidly accrue revenue in the process to pay power producers and offset accumulated debt in the power sector?
President Bio’s government only last week ratified international loan to the tune of 39 million dollars. This is added to the estimated 500 million dollars believed to have been invested in the electricity sector, since 2007.
We have been quick to blame Sierra Leoneans for being cheats and lazy. But how has the government helped the people to make it a habit to run to pay their bills, when more times than one they would have to queue in the hundreds to access the small number of booths – about three, that are inside Electricity House to do just that.
Are the hundreds of people standing in pouring rain not patriotic? Are they not willing to pay the cost to access the service? Are they and others that are willing to pay, not being blatantly discouraged from doing so?
There is clearly a need for a Minister in office who would functionally obsessed to ensure there are no revenue leaks.
When people are having to wait in long queues waiting to pay their utility bill, are we saying there shouldn’t have been by now the awareness that the existing pain faced by power consumers to inject resources into government coffers is a disincentive to imbibing the culture and willingness in these people to pay for public utilities?
Doesn’t this explain why some people in frustration – unable to recharge their meters, could recourse to plugging directly into the main power lines, bypassing their meters? Who do we blame for this?
Radical Solution: the scratch card way
Minister Kanja Sesay has to bring radical reform now in the recharging of meters, given the regularity of system failures that have closed almost all points of sale in the city and outlying areas.
Shouldn’t the Minister by now have spearheaded the use of Scratch Cards to recharge meters? What is wrong with that?
He does not have to introduce expensive cards; just enough security features on papers are enough to make it easier for wholesalers to buy in bulk and retail to outlets so that consumers can just get on with paying bills with no hassle.
With the current stress to recharge meters, an estimated 100 million Leones could be lost weekly as people find an alternative to power their houses and businesses.
We are encouraging people to be unpatriotic because of our own leaders’ incompetence or unwillingness to, for once, be proactive with all that concerns revenue mobilization.
Is Minister Sesay any different?
Can Kanja Sesay please draw a line between his SLPP administration and that of the APC? Or is he now settled in his office to resume BUSINESS AS USUAL? Action, Mr Minister! Action. Critical Thinking (worried about EDSA revenue mobilization).
Sierra Leone’s electricity woes will not end. The country can only produce 3 percent of its need at the moment. Unless the Government initiates a regional policy driven by the Mano River Union, we shall continue moving round the same circle.
The Mano River Union (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) has the potential to produce 6000 Megawatts from their Hydro capability from which Sierra Leone could have 1500 MW, Liberia 1500 MW and Guinea 2500 MW. But currently Sierra Leone only has 3 percent (50 MW) Liberia 45 MW and Guinea 55 MW.
The Mano River Project could be supported by the United States for Liberia, the United Kingdom for Sierra Leone and France for Guinea. Perhaps the SLPP would like to follow this path which the APC never bothered to pursue despite being advised over the years.