Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gambia: Parliament gives nod to $12M electricity loan

The House of Parliament in Banjul, the Gambian capital on Tuesday ratified an electricity expansion project loan agreement of $12 million meant to expand electricity coverage in the Gambia.

On June 18, 2012, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development (OFID) revealed it had reached an agreement of US$12M loan with the Government of The Gambia. 


OFID said the money meant to be invested in the Kotu Power Station is expected to provide the population, particularly unconnected communities, with an affordable and consistent supply of electrical power. 

Electricity supply is erratic in the tiny West African country, labelled a low income and highly poor indebted country. OFID said “at least 500,000 people will benefit from the upgraded power station” which is being managed by the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC).

Tabling the motion before Parliament on September 25, Minister of Finance Abdou Kolley said the power expansion project is intended to meeting the increasing energy demands in the Greater Banjul Area, by replacing the already decommissioned 6.4MW power generator of the Kotu Power Station with a new 11.1MW diesel power generator.

The power generation capacity of the Greater Banjul, the country’s most populous area is currently pegged at 70 megawatts (MW).

The minister noted another loan of $9M was earlier secured from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), saying it will help close the funding gap and pave the way for the effective implementation of the project.

The Parliament’s majority leader, who has seconded many motions over the years, did the same on Tuesday. 

A member for Serrekunda East and the ruling APRC-Government, Mr. Fabakary Tombong Jatta noted the importance of providing reliable and affordable electricity, which he said “is equal to none” for any meaningful socio-economic development of country.


Terms & conditions

Our new parliamentary correspondent, Bakary Ceesay said OFID agrees to lend to the Gambia $12 million on terms and conditions set forth in this agreement; the Gambia shall pay interest at the rate of one and one quarter of one per cent (1.25%) per annum; the Gambia shall pay a service charge of one per cent (1%) per annum; interest and service charge shall be paid semi-annually on January 15 and July 15 in each year into OFID Account; 20 years including 5 years grace and frequency (twice per year). 

The above, according to Finance Minister Mr. Kolley, is “highly concessional” and within their borrowing limits of the country.

The June 2012 loan secured by the Gambia Government was one of 13 loans and grants totalling nearly US$66 million meant to boost socio-economic development in over 34 partner countries.   

The loans which covered the agriculture, education, energy, transportation and water supply sectors of the beneficiary countries were issued at the end of OFID’s 139th Session in Vienna, Austria. 

Written by Modou S. Joof
 

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