Since the inception of this Government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration in 2005, it has embarked on some useful projects which are today benefiting the country. She needs to be commended for that. For example – the road construction project, construction and re-convention of hospitals in the country, especially the Jackson F. Doe Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County and the partial electrification of the city among others.
All these are important steps taken by this Government. We were in this country for years and roads on the old road, Sinkor, Duala, Buchanan and many others were just bad. It took people several hours to move from one point to another. But still there is a lot more that needs to be done, especially in the energy sector. In every country, for an economy to grow, there is one major development which must be put into place-Power. Without power, it impedes development.
No one, or industry will continue to run private generator throughout its production level and expect to reduce price for customers. Certainly not! The intention of every investor is to make profit at the end of the day. Look at Ghana today. One of the reasons for improvement in its economy, it the availability of power. They are even exporting such power to other countries.
It is clear today that the level of power in the country is not enough. In fact, the capacity of the national electricity is not enough to feed the entire city, let alone the country. Take for instance CEMENCO factory alone. Its power consumption for day is high. The amount it spent on fuel on a daily basis, we are told is over US$1,000 (One thousand United States dollars). This is only one company’s consumption level per day. When one looks at Beer Factory, Coca Cola Factory, Firestone other multinational companies, the figure could be the same or even higher.
What is happening now is these companies will have to make profit; and in the end, will affect the citizens. But when the power consumption is less, its commercial effects on customers will also be less. You do not expect one to pay more and give less the customers. Company’s desire is to make profit. Of late, we have read about an Indian company Jindal Power and Steel Limited (JSPL) expressing its desire to provide electricity to the entire country at a very low cost; almost half of the current price of about 20 cent per kilowatt. Currently, a customer is paying a little over 40 cent per kilowatt. This will take less construct than three years to build factories for the plant and start running.
This clearly tells one that Liberia is among countries that is paying highest tariff for power in the world. This should not continue with country that is coming out of civil war. Looking at this, it is time that Government should speed up whatever discussions that is necessary to jump start this project. As it is said: Delay is Dangerous. There should not be delay in such negotiations. If there are some issues which need to be looked before they jump start the projects, it is better to fast track now rather than to drag it on.
After all, no investor will allow its time to be spent on one project for the longest. In fact, this delay to address some key projects that will benefit the country, at times are not attended to faster. An example is the offer from the Chinese Government to construct the Ministerial Complex. Up to now, nothing substantial has been said about this. The Government is still struggling to get land or come out with clear cut decisions on the Chinese offer. They will not be waiting all year to carry out the construction of the complex.
What we have read about this company’s capacity-Jindal Steel and Power Limited is encouraging and there is need for all relevant entities to look at this seriously. This country needs power desperately and all must be done to ensure that power is brought at affordable. It is also important to fast track all development projects; such as the Chinese ministerial complex offer among others.