Liberia’s Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy or MLME Mr. Patrick Sendolo, has told a High Level Energy Steering Group that the country’s energy sector is not on track in terms of access to electricity.
“To be frank with you, I don’t want to over-characterize it – but we have something about challenges; we still are not on track in terms of the access that we all talked about. This is all about access to electricity,” Mr. Sendolo conceded Monday, 15 February at the Royal Grand Hotel in Sinkor at an inaugural meeting of the energy committee.
According to him, if there is a question as to “where are we in respect to access,” the answer will be a mix of [hesitant one]. He therefore suggested to his colleagues that every time such meeting is called, they must try and focus on where “we are” with respect to what needs to be done in terms of facilitating access to electricity, and what steps both the Government of Liberia and donors need to take to make their effort more effective.
“Every time we come to these meetings, we have to focus on what is urgent and imperative at the moment,” he urged. Speaking earlier, the chairman for the High Level Energy Steering Group, Mr. Ian Yhap said, the crust of the meeting centers around the future of the Liberia Electricity Corporation and its management.
Mr. Yhap recalled that they decided in December 2015 to establish supervisory and oversight group which is why they had gathered yesterday at the Royal Hotel. “First of all at the December 10, 2015 meeting when the LEC management plan was disclosed and endorsed by the President, you were all interested in that and you have since had some coordination meetings in respect of the invitation that we sent out,” he said.
Mr. Yhap noted that the proactive stance was really welcoming, adding that it tells that “we are all in common agreement that the key driver to our economic and social success is the supply of reliable and affordable electricity.”
He said President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has not relented on this important issue, and that the hallmark Mount Coffey issue has remained high on government’s national agenda. He added the recent commissioning of the first four HFO Plants were made possible because of President Sirleaf’s tireless work and absolute commitment as well as those charged with achieving results.
He disclosed an additional 18 megawatts financed by the Government of Liberia is expected at the beginning of April at which time Liberia will achieve a 250 percent increase in capacity. Energy continues to pose a serious challenge to Liberia’s post-conflict economy since the return of democracy in 2005 with this administration promising “Small light today; big light tomorrow.”
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne