Energy Minister commissions Foredugu Mini-Grid
As part of the process to provide electricity to rural communities through mini grids, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy has officially switched on the mini grid at Foredugu in Kerena district, north-western Sierra Leone.
The project, which is funded by the government of the United Kingdom through the FCDO has so far electrified over fifty communities in the first phase.
In his statement, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, described light as right, and added that his presence in the area to commission the mini grid was an indication of the desire of President Bio to take social amenities like electricity to every nook and cranny of the country.
He said Foredugu was a strategic town in Kerena district which had for long suffered from the lack of electricity. He stated that the government had approached international partners and convinced them to undertake such a massive project, knowing fully well that it was always going to be a cumbersome task and a time consuming exercise to genuinely attempt to get every community connected to the national grid.
The Minister of Energy catalogued the many energy projects that were being undertaken across the country, and assured that government had bigger plans for Foredugu in terms of getting it connected to the national grid in the future. Minister Sesay said he had taken the concerns of the people in relation to the tariff into consideration.
“We as a government have realized that the tariff system for mini grids imposes a burden on our rural people. I have held fruitful discussions with the Minister of Finance and we have agreed on granting tax waivers on tariffs for mini grid and will do more as and when the need arises,” the Energy Minister assured.
Mr. Sesay reminded the people that despite the fact that the facilities belong to PowerLeone, it was imperative that they as a community own the facilities and sustain the project. He concluded by saying that the availability of electricity in the area would enhance the economic and social livelihoods of the people.
Country Manager, United Nations Office for Project Service, UNOPS, Nick Gardner, said he was delighted to be in Foredugu to launch the project. He said phase one of the project had provided electricity to over fifty communities. He noted that the Foredugu mini grid is the first of 45 communities in phase two to be commissioned.
Mr. Gardner stated that there are over 300 people that had already signed up and were ready to be connected to the mini grid, noting that there was an increase in the number of consumers that was initially estimated. He described the project as impactful and noted that they were looking forward to realizing the positive social and economic impact that the electrification project would have on the people.
Member of Parliament for Constituency 067, Hon. Alusine Bash-Kamara, expressed the collective joy of the people and praised the government of Sierra Leone for thinking about Kerena in general and Foredugu in particular. He spoke about the significance of electricity and how the project would accrue immense benefits to the people.
Hon. Kamara said they as a community had assured PowerLeone of their desire to cooperate with them and to own and sustain the project. He commended the Minister of Energy for electrifying Kamasondo, while also appealing for similar projects to be extended to Safroko.
The Ministry of Energy continues to impressively explore alternative sources of energy and to collaborate with partners in the quest to provide quality, sustainable and afford electricity.