By Ramatoulie Jawo
Nani Juwara, Managing Director, National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) earlier Monday told the Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) that budgetary constraints have delayed scheduled maintenance of NAWEC from 2017 to 2019.
“The wear and tear of most of the aged generating sets increased and it was extremely difficult to source genuine parts overseas as some of the parts are no longer being manufactured, “ He added. “To maintain system stability and improve quality of service, management embarked on series of interventions on our transmission and distribution network such as; upgrading of overloaded secondary transformers, installation of new secondary transformers in areas where demand was on the increase, replacement of old bare conductor to new insulated twisted cables to minimize energy losses etc.”
The NAWEC MD further revealed that water supply was one of the biggest challenges faced by the company’s management as the demand outweighed the supply, ‘significantly’ leading to most communities within the GBA to go for hours or days without regular supply.
Juwara said knowing the low level of access to electricity service countrywide, NAWEC management, with the support of The Gambia government started the implementation of the Electricity Expansion Project (EEP) funded through the Exim of Bank of India’s line of credit costing over USD22.5 million, meant to electrify over 77 communities within the Greater Banjul Area and in the Kiangs.
“The project, when fully completed and commissioned, will change the lives and livelihoods of the beneficiary communities as this would be the first time that they will have access to electricity,” he said.
He made the remarks while facing the National Assembly select committee on Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) to present his company’s activities and financial reports from 2017 to 2019.
In his presentation, Juwara said their focus as management in 2019 was to consolidate on the gains registered in power supply since the change of government in 2017; as the demand on their services continue to increase significantly because of the booming construction industry and the increase in business activity after the democratic change of government in 2017.
“Despite the huge increase in demand which was unfortunately not matched by the available generation capacity due to the old age of many of the generators, NAWEC was able to maintain relative stability in most part of the year,” he said. “In 2019, NAWEC management was able to increase electricity production from 327, 060 in 2018 to 380,371 MWh in 2019, representing an increase of about 16.30%. This is possible thanks to the continuous availability of the 30MW KARPOWERSHIP, which started operations in May 2018 and also the availability of the newly commissioned 12 MW generator number five (5) at the Kotu power station.”
The chairperson of the select committee Honourable Lamin J. Sanneh said NAWEC is a very important public enterprise to the electorates and urged them to try hard to improve their services.