Pres.Bio Outlines Gains in Energy Sector

0
53

By:Austine Luseni

His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has in his speech at the State Opening of the Fifth Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone catalogued the many successes his administration has recorded in the energy domain, commended the Ministry of Energy and international partners and reiterated the commitment of his Government to doing more in respect of increasing access to energy.

President Julius Maada Bio said his Government had identified the lack of adequate energy as a binding constraint on development, noting that electricity was critical to national development aspirations as it accelerates progress and enhances other facets of social life and human capital development.

“A key focus of my Government has been to double energy access from 16% in 2017 to 32% in 2023. To that end, we have planned deliberately, engaged development actors and the private sector, and taken into account a good energy mix across board,” the President stated, adding that his Government was fixated on finding long-term solutions to the energy crisis rather than procuring and installing temporary generation plants.

Using eloquent and persuasive data, President Julius Maada Bio noted with measured delight and guarded satisfaction that access to energy had considerably improved in the country since 2018.

“16% of Sierra Leoneans had access to electricity in 2018;31% now have access to electricity.In 2018,there were 184,997 registered EDSA customers;there were 255,993 at the end of 2021,an increase of over 70,000 new customers,” President Bio stated, while also informing citizens that Peak load electricity consumption for Western Area in 2018 was 51 megawatts,but that it now stands at 85 megawatts, accounting for an increase of 34 megawatts.

President Bio spoke about the constraints EDSA was faced with in its dealings with the Karpowership, the unconscionable vandalization of transformers and other electricity assets, the burden of electricity subsidies imposed on the Government and the establishment of a Presidential Task Force to deal with the issue of electricity theft and vandalization of installations.

In respect of efforts in the provinces or the rural areas,President Julius Maada Bio spoke about the commissioning of the 225kV CLSG Transmission Line from Liberia to Kenema/Tiloma substation,the execution of a Power Purchase Agreement,PPA, and the provision of regular electricity supply to the cities of Bo and Kenema since December 2021.

He further spoke about the completion of the installation of electricity infrastructure for 15 out of the 39 communities along the CLSG/WAPP 225kV Transmission network,the negotiation of contract for grid extension from Telorma to Segbwema and Kailahun, and the completion and testing of a 6MW Solar Park at Newton.

President Bio commended efforts in the area of mini grids,naming a good number of towns and villages in every region of the country that have benefitted or are to benefit from the burgeoning facility,while also noting the provision of 6 Solar PV systems at Government Hospitals in Portloko, Kabala, Moyamba,Pujehun,

Kailahun and Lakka.

He also spoke about planned transmission corridors that can serve population centres and economic centres,the upgrade of transmission lines on the Bo-Kenema distribution network to 66kV and the expansion of the low and medium voltage distribution network in the Western Area.

“Additional actions are being considered and my ministers will bring forward measures and legislation to this end,”the President concluded.

SLCB reaches brookfields community 

The undisputed leader in the banking industry in Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) today Friday 6th April, 2022 has inaugurated a new branch at Youyi Building Compound, Brookfields in Freetown.

SLCB is always answered to the increasing demand of its clients and provide timely and speedy service to all.

The new proactive Managing Director of SLCB, Yusufu Abdul Silla is in record maintaining most of the products and services of his predecessors in improving customers’ satisfaction.

In his statement, the SLCB Managing Director, Yusufu Abdul Silla said SLCB outlets are part of the Bank unique strategy of expanding their reach to customers and the general public at minimum cost in line with the Bank of Sierra Leone Financial Inclusion Policy that geared towards increasing accessibility of banking services to the populace.

He said the management intends to continue its expansion drive by creating a mix of more of such to reach full-fledged banking services in conducive and safe environment.

He furthered that the opening of the Youyi building outlet is by no mistake rather than a management response to the Clarion called of the numerous customers, adding that the vicinity is one of the busiest place in Freetown where customers of SLCB are highly in need of banking transactions.

Sierra Leone Commercial Bank is hundred percent Sierra Leonean owned bank which is making tremendous performance in the past ten years and paying dividends to government annually.

Meteorological Agency Launches Risk Mitigation Report

Gabriel Kpaka SLMET DPT.DIRECTOR

By Mustapha Dumbuya

As the Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency(SLEMET)  has released its seasonal outlook; a detailed analysis of the climatic condition of Sierra Leone, Ministries, Department and Agencies MDAs) are going to be engaged most probably this week to promote risk mitigation as the country has started experiencing early rains.

Gariel Kpaka Deputy Director General Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency revealed that after engaging the media, they are going to engage the MDAs as well so that they will join the bandwagon in sensitizing the public against activities that can have negative impacts on the environment.

 These activities include the cutting of trees and the dumping of garbage in gutters that affect the free flow of water which he said has been responsible for the flooding experienced in the Western Area.

“It has been forecast that there will be high risk of flooding during the latter part of the rainy season, so there is need for those residing in flood prone areas to take the necessary measures”, said Mr Kpaka, adding that due to the measures taken by the ministry of Environment and the Freetown City Council, no major flooding incidence reportedly took place for the past two years.

He lauded the planting of trees and clearing of waterways as mitigating factors that should be continued to save the environment, lives and properties, he concluded. 

He said they forecast a dry spell especially in Freetown which means there will be intervals between wet and dry that will serve as breeding space for mosquitoes in garbage infested gutters and streams.

 Mr Kpaka warned that the use of mosquito bed nets should be taken seriously.

“In Freetown, the rains will cease earlier than other districts and there will be longer dry spells with heavy thunder storms and lightening”, he further warned.

He said the country used to experience rain in May but the rains have started dropping heavily in the early month of May this year.

 The Deputy Director noted that according to the data they have gathered information about the planting season, noting that20 mm of rains should be captured before the planting season commences in earnest. He maintained that the dry spell affects the planting season considerably.

However, the deficit in rain fall forecasted this year has been a bad news to farmers across the country who is calling on the relevant authorities to facilitate the provision of seedlings for them so that they get the actual ones that can germinate well regardless of the climatic condition.

The Sierra Metrological Agency exists to provide cost effective weather and climate services by collecting, processing, archiving and disseminating Meteorological and climatological information and services to support end-users contributing for the growth and management of the economy of Sierra Leone with special regard to the protection of life and property and safeguarding of the environment.

Sierra Leone is vulnerable to increasing frequency and severity of droughts, floods and severe storms and their impacts on sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, as well as infrastructure and hydroelectric power production. Such climate-related hazards are having increasingly adverse effects on the country, and future climate change is likely to further exacerbate the situation.

 A large proportion of the Sierra Leone population has a very low capacity to adapt to climate change. Climate change impacts are likely to be particularly negative on Sierra Leone’s rural population because of their high dependence on rain-fed agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods.

The project on Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems for Climate Resilient Development and Adaptation to Climate Change is part of a regional initiative that includes 11 countries in Africa. The primary problem that the project seeks to address in Sierra Leone has to do with current climate information (including monitoring) and early warning systems are not functioning sufficiently to support adaptive capacity of local communities and key sectors. This hampers long-term planning, management and early warning activities, and adaptation to climate change impacts.

The project aims to improve climate monitoring and early warning systems through a series of targeted interventions. To improve the management of climate-related hazards the project will support the Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency in providing more effective delivery of climate information including early warnings.

A functional network of meteorological and hydrological monitoring stations and associated infrastructure will be established to better understand climatic changes.

ECOWAS to learn from   S/Leone’s Chief Justice

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has invited Sierra Leone’s Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards to share his wealth of experience in Cape Verde on ECOWAS Integration Model: The Legal Implications of Regionalism, Sovereignty and Supranationalism.

Hon. Chief Justice Edwards left the country over the weekend for the ECOWAS Integration Model International Conference which started on Monday, 9th May, 2022 and will end on Wednesday, 12th May, 2022.

The conference focuses attention on the integration process of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the legal implications of regionalism, supranationalism and the limitation of the national sovereignties of Member States in relation to a supranational organization like ECOWAS, a Regional Economic Community (REC) in the West African sub-region.

In his welcome address on behalf of the Court, the President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Edward Amoaka Asante thanked all participants for leaving their busy and important work in their respective countries to attend the conference, adding that without them there will be no successful conference.

According to Sierra Leone’s Chief Justice, the types of Regional Economic Integration range from Free Trade Areas, Customs Union, Common Market to Economic Union. The level of integration involved in an Economic Integration Initiative can vary enormously from loose association to a complex and completely integrated economic union.

“It also creates physical and institutional infrastructure, supranational policies and Institutions for the integration project,” he said whilst referencing the Concept note.

He added that Regional integration has therefore been organized either through supranational institutional structures or through intergovernmental decision making or a combination of both.

Regional Integration makes it possible to lift a large part of the population out of poverty, enhance economic development and improve the living standards of the people. It can reduce the cost of trade, increase trade and employment opportunities improve the availability of goods and services and increase consumer purchasing power in Member States.

On the other hand, there could be the risk of trade diversion, employment shifts and reductions and loss of national sovereignty, as the Member States may have to give up more and more of their political and economic rights to a supranational authority and supranational actors.

Pres. Bio Campaigns for UNSC Representation   

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has launched Sierra Leone’s bid for a seat in the non-permanent category of the United Nations Security Council, UNSC, for the period 2024-2025, again since the country’s first inning 51 years ago. 

In his statement, President Bio recalled that in just eight years after Sierra Leone became a member of the United Nations, it had the singular honour for the first time to be elected to serve on the organization’s most powerful deliberative body, the Security Council.

“These two unforgettable years of Sierra Leone’s tenure in the Council from 1970 to 1971, served as bold footprints that continue to define our nation’s commitment to its international obligations and its unflinching support for a multilateral rules-based world order to advance and sustain global peace and security.

“Fifty plus years after our 1970-1971 tenure on the Security Council, we are once again presenting Sierra Leone’s candidature for a seat in the non-permanent category of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2024-2025,” he said at the presentation of information, education and communication and promotional items for the country’s proposal.

President Julius Maada Bio also reiterated that as a nation, they had always continued to play their part as a responsible member of the international community, adding that at various times, Sierra Leone had proudly contributed troops and police to peace support operations so that others might enjoy the peace the country was now experiencing.

“Sierra Leone can today proudly boast of its credentials as a successful model of peace building and post-war state reconstruction. We owe it to the global family of nations to share our experience and lessons in peace-making, peacekeeping and peace building.

“Also, given the centrality of Sierra Leone’s role as Coordinator of the C-10 on Security Council reform, we will continue to canvass, mobilise and promote support for the Common African Position.  We will unequivocally affirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations System, which will significantly contribute to upholding the principles, objectives and ideals of the UN Charter for a fairer world, based on universalism, equity and regional balance,” he said.

In a welcome statement, the Director General of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prince Cole, said he was extremely happy about such a history-making event, adding that the bid for Sierra Leone to seat in the non-permanent category of the UNSC for the period 2024-2025 would be held in the General Assembly of the United Nations in June 2023.

He further noted that Sierra Leone would once again be on the verge of ascending the global stage, especially as the sole African candidate for the position.

“I am pleased to inform all that Sierra Leone is running with a faith, blessing and support of not only our sub-regional organisation, ECOWAS, but also with the support of the continent as an endorsed candidate of the African Union,” he concluded.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David John Francis, said the event was historic because Sierra Leone was returning to the UNSC, the world’s most important body for the maintenance of global peace after more than 50 years.

Prof. Francis maintained that the position in the UNSC would give Sierra Leone the perfect opportunity to tell the country’s success story as a country of resilience, hope, and a country that successfully transitioned from war to peace, a country no longer defined by its past, but a country of recent beacon of hope and for Human Capital Development.

“Sierra Leone has maintained an evidence record of support for multilateral rules-based world order, that is why Sierra Leone is increasingly elected or appointed to global leadership organisations such as President of the United Nations Women Executive Board; President of the Arms Trade Treaty, to name but a few. “We are running under the theme: Partnership, Multilateralism and Representative Approach to Sustained Global Peace and Security. It is our firm desire that this endeavour will contribute significantly to re-brand Sierra Leone,” he concluded.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here