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Depoliticize LEC to make it vibrant

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The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) like the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) is charged to provide two critical services that the Government of Liberia has failed to effectively deliver, but presides over both corporations for political reasons, particularly the LEC.

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf successfully campaigned on the promise of bringing electricity to Monrovia in six months if elected and delivered “Small Light today, Big Light Tomorrow” after coming to the Presidency.

She left office with the inauguration of a new hydro plant with the capacity to produce 88 megawatts of electricity, but more than half of Liberia is still in darkness due to poor distribution.

Her successor President George Manneh Weah sees electricity as a political tool to gain popularity and grow support. President Weah has been using the planting of a few street lights in some parts of Monrovia to receive public ovation without doing much to have power distributed across the country.

The problem is even compounded by well-syndicated power theft involving officials in high places and unscrupulous business people, who enjoy a good portion of electricity but pay very little or nothing at all to the detriment of the larger population.

Power theft at the LEC has claimed the attention of international partners, including the United States of America, the European Union, Japan who contributed financially to having new hydropower in Liberia. However, despite providing their taxpayers’ money here, efficiency is lacking in the corporation’s activities thus it is unable to generate sufficient revenue to remain sustainable.

The EU Head of delegation to Liberia Laurent Delahousse last week called for the privatization of the Liberia Electricity Corporation to make it efficient and economically viable. Ambassador Delahousse believes the commercialization of the LEC is the best way to proceed in having the service available and affordable to all.

Days before, the United States Ambassador to Liberia Michael McCarthy had decried power theft in Liberia as one of the greatest threats to the country’s development, stressing that by contributing to LEC (Liberia Electricity Corporation’s) commercial losses, this theft prevents the utility from conducting preventative maintenance and installing new connections, which also raises the price for electricity for ordinary Liberians to one of the highest tariffs in the world.

We agree with the two foreign envoys that interventions are needed urgently to make the LEC serviceable and efficient. It is also an economic issue because, without reliable electricity, investors would not be attracted to Liberia. In a nutshell, we believe it is time government relinquishes the LEC to private investors to make the service efficient and available to everyone regardless of status in society.   https://thenewdawnliberia.com/energy-minister-wants-lec-privatized/

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