By State House Communication Unit
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Tuesday 12 December officially commissioned the construction of 6MW grid connected solar PV power plant at Newton, Western Rural District. The facility is the first solar PV power plant of its kind in Sierra Leone and is jointly funded by the government of Sierra Leone and the Abu Dhabi Fund For Development.
Speaking on the occasion President Koroma said the project is a continuation of what the ruling All People’s (APC) government has been doing about developing the energy sector. He said no country will develop without energy, adding that since day one government identified energy and infrastructure as priority areas.
The president said government did not meet money in the coffers when it took up office in 2007 but has been making the necessary push to implement programmes.
He paid glowing tribute to late Ambassador Alhaji Alpha Siray Timbo who facilitated the project, and described the six megawatts initiative as a pilot to provide clean energy to supply not only rural communities but also the entire country. This, according to President Koroma, clearly tells that the APC government is serious about transforming Sierra Leone.
He used the occasion to formally present the APC presidential candidate for the 2018 elections Dr Samura Kamara and his running mate Hon. Chernor Maju Bah to the people of Koya and prayed that the project would be commissioned by Dr Samura and Hon Bah when fully completed. He said government wants electricity for development.
Minister of Energy Ambassador Henry Macaulay recalled that government inherited five megawatts of electricity in 2007 and has raised it to over 180 megawatts. He vowed that his ministry is set to deliver whatever the president desires for the development of the energy sector.
Ambassador Macauley called for community ownership of the project saying that government is doing its part thus the community must be ready to embrace the project, and noted that the project is being initiated to create jobs for youth and thanked the government of Abu Dhabi for the support.
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) team management leader Filip Matwin described the country’s road network as a fantastic achievement
and commended President Koroma for his visionary leadership. Mr Matwin promised to deliver the project in record time and also paid tribute to late Ambassador Timbo. He said the project will provide clean and sustainable energy to empower the people through businesses and employment.
Hon. Claude Kamanda said the project means a lot to the community as it will reduce migration from rural to urban areas, and thanked President Koroma for a job well done.
Outgoing Western Rural District Chairman Councillor Alhassan Cole assured President Koroma that there will be no run off come 2018, as all 28 seats will be delivered.
During a stop over at Rogbereh junction, President Koroma also presented Dr Samura Kamara whom he said he is coming in with new energy, new change that will continue with the good works of the party. He said Dr Kamara has all what it takes to make the necessary change.
On his part, Dr Samura Kamara assured that he will not let the president down and vowed to rise to the moment.