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MCA-G Hosts Consultation Workshop on NAWEC Water/Power Separation Study

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Group Photo From The Event

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

The Millennium Challenge Account-Gambia (MCA-G) held a day-long consultation workshop on Tuesday regarding the NAWEC Water/Power Separation Study at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center in Bijilo.

This workshop focused on one of the key activities funded by the MCC Threshold Program, which aims to address the challenges of unreliable and insufficient electricity supply in The Gambia.

The program is designed to complement the Government of The Gambia’s investments in the energy sector, supported by development partners such as the World Bank and the European Union.

Supported by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), MCA-G is implementing a $25 million Threshold Program to enhance governance and operations in the power sector through reforms promoting accountability and transparency.

Saffie Dambelleh, CEO of MCA-G, stated that the government requested the NAWEC separation study as part of the MCC Threshold intervention. This study, conducted by GA Consulting Group, aims to examine the costs and benefits of various legal separation options to assist the government in making informed decisions.

“The study is intended to examine the costs and benefits of different options of legal separation, aimed to assist the Government in making an informed decision,” he said.

Dambelleh emphasized that while reforms are challenging, it is crucial to consider the utility’s role as an essential service provider for all Gambians. Therefore, all separation options must be thoroughly assessed to ensure decisions serve the public interest and maintain business continuity.

“Thus, all options for the separation must be assessed critically and thoroughly to aid in reaching decisions that will serve the interest of Gambians for better quality of life. Additionally, the management of the separation process of the two critical services of the utility must take into account the need for business continuity,” he stated.

He mentioned that in support of the separation study, MCA-G, in consultation with MCC, might fund critical activities through action requests under the Threshold Program. 

“This move is to help the achievement of the Program objectives using the problem-driven iterative adaptation (PDIA) approach,” he said. 

In his keynote address, Nani Juwara, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, stated that the workshop provides an opportunity to guide the government’s major decisions on the future operations of NAWEC. He highlighted that the government’s ‘Yiriwa’ recovery-focused National Development Plan emphasizes universal access to renewable energy and improvements in energy policy, legal, and regulatory frameworks.

“In addition, it stipulates that the electricity market must be further liberalized with NAWEC to act as a wholesale buyer as well as the network infrastructure manager as an electricity distributor as well.  Prior to the ‘Yiriwa’, the government developed the Gambia strategic electricity road-map as a guide for the transformation of the electricity sub-sector seeking to achieve universal access by 2025, through the exploration of least-cost electricity generation options and increasing the high penetration of variable renewable energy,” he highlighted.

Juwara mentioned that the Gambia has recently made significant progress in the power sector, achieving at least 63% access with the help of development partners.

“Guided by the drive for improvement of operational deficiency and leveling the playing field to encourage private sector participation in the power sector. The government of the Gambia intends to decouple the water and electricity business of NAWEC. The policy for the decoupling was first highlighted in the 2015 – 2020 national electricity and emphasis in the 2021 updated national electricity subsector strategic roadmap,” he said.

Minister Juwara concluded that the workshop’s outcomes will help the government make evidence-based decisions to ensure the sustainable supply of clean, reliable, and affordable electricity and water services for all Gambians.

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