Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 July 2020:
The government of Sierra Leone has this week agreed a 5-year contract with the Turkish owned Karpowership – one of the world’s largest operators of floating power plants, to continue to provide electricity for the country’s capital Freetown.
It is not certain how much the government has paid or will pay in the next five years, but the contract will not come cheap.
Estimates suggest the government could be paying hundreds of millions of dollars in the next five years, raising questions about long-term value for money, sustainability and political expediency.
With presidential and general elections scheduled to take place in 2023/2024, and the constant electricity problems facing the country, critics of the government say that the aim of this contract is to help shore-up the ruling party’s electoral chances of staying in power after 2023.
Karpowership – part of the Karadeniz Energy Group currently supplies about 80% of the country’s electricity from two large ships anchored off the capital Freetown, under an expensive contract signed in 2018 with the Bio-led government after several faulty starts by the former APC government.
The vessels are dual-fuel powered using either heavy fuel oil or liquefied natural gas (LNG). The new agreement will add 5 megawatts (MW) to current production.
Sierra Leone needs at least 500 MW of electricity to meet its non-industrial demand. According to the new agreement, Karpowership will generate an average of 63 MW during the dry season and 23 MW during the wet season for Sierra Leone’s Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority.
The country’s Bumbuna Hydro-electricity facility has the potential capacity to provide about 80 MW of power, but actual production does not exceed 60 MW in the rain season, and then grinds to an almost halt during the dry season when water level at the dam falls and technical repairs are carried out.
Less than 15% of households in the country have access to electricity supply, with prolonged and intermittent blackouts quite common in the capital and other towns and cities.
Karpowership nor the government have disclosed the financial details of the deal or its contract value.
Karpowership currently provides around 4,100 MW of power from its fleet of 25 ships, mainly in eight African nations, but also in Cuba, across the Middle East and Asia.
The issue of makeni is that,citizens or youth should stay away from violence because the benefit behind any violence is always negative. We should not be thinking of politics now but development. The problems behind all this violence is hatred for one another. We are not behaving like patriot.
Sierra Leoneans, this time we should come together and unite as one nation to develop our country. It doesn’t mean that when we are calling for unification we must be in the same political party,religion or tribe – No. God Himself did not made us all to be together. We have Christians,Muslims and free thinkers – these are different groups but one people. Development cannot come without unification. When we are united with one focus to support any government in power for development our country will surely develop but if not,this country will still be scrolling for development. Even if we change these two political parties, without unification no development.
Bumbuna which is supposed to supply this whole country with electricity is struggling, things are getting expensive every day because of the tax rate, no jobs, no good roads,no good medical facilities. The basic things which we are supposed to enjoy as citizen we are not getting. Hmmmm the Sele hydro which was supposed to be constructed has now become silent. We dont hear about it anymore. Anyways if you love Salone, stop disturbing the peace of the country, political violence and let us all come together to develop our country because this is the only place we can proud of or call HOME.
Shame!!! Shame!!! Shame!!!!! On you all govt peristalsis so this is what you called development when you are only there for yourself interest, not for the interest of the people (citizens) we’re tired of all this lies which you keep on promising people, we’re expecting positive change not this kind of change because, I considered you politicians the same, “birds with the same feathers that flcck together”.
You consider yourself as the savour of the people, while you are one of the worst governments ever. When will you politicians stop deceiving the people in that country.
The problem we have is, no body should die over a generator. Explain to your people the plans you had. Why killing them. That is reducing our population. Where can we turn to now? The white man is killing our brothers all over the world. Our own very brothers are also killing us in our country over a generator. This is pathetic.
These modern day slave traders, who are under the guise of governance need to be ostracized from the community. It’s either that or black people as we’re known, will go extinct in the ‘far future.’ If we fail to swiftly find ways of taming these poverty maintainers – bring them back to planet earth, they will end up killing every last one of us, including themselves.
Once again the long suffering electricity starved residents of Freetown, and the country as a whole, have been treated to what amounts to an electricity supply bribe. Or just sticking a plaster on a wound that never seems to heal. If this is to boost the government election chances, suffice to say , long may the election cycle continues. It just goes to show, government of every colour APC/SLPP are only interested in undertaking short term development projects that fall within an election calendar to boost their re-election chances. Shame on our politicians that hold those views. Its not good for the long term development of our country. As for longterm projects that produce results beyond the life of a parliament, no one is interested.
To prove this point, as far as I can recall, the only time we enjoyed abundant supply of electricity in Freetown, was when our country hosted the 1980 OAU.Turns out we were just behaving like Flash man. Put on our best Sunday dress, while we can’t feed ourselves. So this five year agreement is a calculated move by this government to point out to our easily satisfied Sierra Leonean public – look this is what we’ve done for you, when we are in government.
If you want to maintain this agreement you will have to vote for us again. We need a government that can provide us with permanent electricity supply. If it means using solar, wind or the hydro electric dam at Bumbunah water falls. We are tired of being kept in the dark. Becsuse it only means one thing, our country will never develop without sustainable electricity power supply. This half baked fixes will not solve our power supply shortage. May God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Can you please share what the electricity situation was like three years ago and what the former government was paying for electricity contract then? Electricity is not cheap. Are you suggesting that the government does not sign the deal and embark on long term plan now?
Where will the electricity come from in the transition to the long term plan? The government is proactive to provide now, and embark on the future electricity that will be sustainable. Any serious government tackles immediate problems, and plan for future sustainable electricity.
With all due respect. I am not talking about electricity supply three years ago. I grew up hearing the development of Bumbuna,hydro dam, under the Stevens government. Forgive me if I am cynical here, but our country called SIERRA LEONE SHOULD NOT BE IN A SITUATION WHERE YOUTHS ARE MOW DOWN OVER A STANDBY GENERATOR! It is about time as Sierra Leoneans, we stop burying our heads in the sand and confront the truth. It didn’t start with this government, but all governments. The cancer of corruption have held back our country. I will work out a simple analogy here. Recently the government buught SUVs. For example if they went out to buy ten SUVs. At a prize tag of sixty thousands. Which ever minister is responsible for lungi international airport, should have raised the point. Why can’t we buy seven SUVs, then use the other money for the three SUVs to repair the faulty generator.
The seven SUVs that got the lion share of the budget will only benefit seven government officials, families and hangers on. But the money to repair the generator will benefit the population of lungi and the surrounding. Maybe let’s say ten thousand happy residents. Our country shouldn’t be poor. But we have greedy and corrupt so called educated African brothers that kept us in bondage for the past fifty years. If Bumbuna hydro dam is fully functional, it will be selling electricity to the neighbouring countries. Please next time ask me what happened to our country in the past fifty years. I will write a volume that will match the Bible about the ills of Sierra leone and our corrupt politicians . Please don’t get me started. May God bless the republic of Sierra Leone.
@Alfred Jamiru. Serious governments would use multiple energy capital in land to meet demand, not rely on a foreign floating supply that only produces less than 1/5th of total needed. Money invested in this current endeavor could have been used to develop short and long term solutions using Sierra Leonean specific resources. There are several ways to generate electricity, not just hydropower.
Politics is indeed a game of fooling the masses, when the erstwhile APC regime brought this Turkish ship and signed similar power contract for electricity supply, the then opposition SLPP was loud and clear in venting out the economic ills of such unsustainable agreement. With the baton of power in their hands today, the fuss is all gone as they replicate the same actions done by their predecessor. As they always say ‘ Monkey na Monkey’ – politicians will always employ deception to get their way, hence we must always take their utterance with a grain of salt until otherwise.
Mr Wetin, I can’t agree with more. You are hundred percent right.For far too long we depend on burning fossil fuel to meet our energy needs. For the long term government needs to work with private investors, and invest in renewable sources of energy – Solar, wind, water. It will not only help develop long term goals, but provide youth employment. Forget about Bumbuna hydro dam, it could have helped if we had governments of all shades to develop this jewel in the Crown. unfortunately our politicians are not interested in developing our country like what the Ethiopians are doing for their theirs.
Just look at the dam they are building, and is projected on completion to supply 65 million Ethiopians for their energy needs. That’s the reason you elect governments – To look after your needs, not their needs. And this is a country that occasionally suffers from draughts and famine. We are not a country in the middle of the Sahara desert – MALI OR CHAD, but believe it or not, these two countries fair well for their energy needs than us. The only draughts we suffer from are honest politicians that have the interests of our country at heart. May God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.