Sierra Leone Government through STEG international will soon complete the rehabilitation and expansion of electricity in the Western Area.
With support from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Ministry of Energy contracted the services of STEG International, an international energy service delivery company to do the rehabilitation and expansion of transmission and network lines, including transformers to improve on power supply in the Western Area.
Aberdeen community was where the Ministry launched the electricity project, which was to last for 18 months, but the Ebola epidemic affected implementation work.
However, to keep to its commitment signed in the project document, the technical team of STEG International together with its local counterparts swung into action soon after the prevalence of the disease had subsided and work started to fulfil the promise made by government to improve on the energy sector.
To have first-hand information on how work was progressing, last weekend the Minister of Energy, Ambassador Henry Macauley together with officials of the ministry, including staff of STEG International undertook field visits to constituencies 92 and 93 in the Western Area peninsula and rural communities.
At Hamilton community, the village head, Morlai Conteh commended government through the ministry for the rehabilitation and expansion of obsolete lines and transformers to restore electricity once more, which has been absent for years.
He informed the ministry officials of the cooperation and support his community is giving to the technical team of STEG International while carrying out its mandate, especially with the installation of treated poles.
The Member of Parliament for constituency 93, Hon. Dauda Kallon was lost for words, noting that the restoration of electricity was amongst his campaign promises, and now that the energy dream is becoming a reality in his constituency, he was hopeful that very soon socio-economic development will move to another level, especially fishing and tourism.
From Hamilton in the western area peninsula, the team moved to Grafton and Rogbangba at Hastings in constituency 92, where similar work to re-run the medium and low voltage transmission and network lines, including installation of transformers is in progress.
On arrival at both sites, the minister and team were received amidst jubilation even though the work is not fully completed.
Residents at Grafton praised the efforts of Government for keeping to its promise on electricity improvement and expansion and assured the team of total commitment to see the project completed.
Honourable Pateh Bah of constituency 92 was delighted to be part of history, citing that since he was elected Member of Parliament, the issue of electricity has been a challenge and as a result the socio-economic livelihood of residents was hampered.
He also commended STEG International for respecting the local content policy to employ locals of the community to assist the technical team in the implementation process.
After the exercise Minister Henry Macauley informed the media that he was impressed by work carried out by the contractor, taking into consideration the delay, but from the visit it is hoped that the rehabilitation and expansion of medium and low voltage transmission and network lines, the project which is overdue, will be completed soon.
He stated that the IDB supported project is one of many electricity projects to improve and expand the supply nationwide, which will be accessible and affordable.
Ambassador Macauley called on communities to exercise patience and cooperate with the contractor, STEG International, noting that the project is their property; therefore they should support and provide security during and after the completion of the project.
Speaking to Awoko, Regional Coordinator of STEG International, Dr Mohamed Tarawallie said STEG is a reputable company operating in over twenty African countries and five Asian countries, providing quality service to improve and expand on electricity to developing, as well as developed nations.
He noted that the company is based in Tunisia with a team of electricity experts ready to provide the requisite service from design to installation.
Questioned on how they got the contract, Dr Tarawallie responded that it was through a bidding process that STEG International got the contract and if not for the ebola epidemic, implementation work would have been complete.
He disclosed that despite the delay, work is progressing and the project is about 90% complete and assured that with the support from the ministry and communities, all things being possible the project will be completed by July 2016.