PRESIDENT MAADA BIO has concluded arrangements to have the Turkish Power Ship brought in by the now gone All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government to restore electricity to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. COCORIOKO learns that the ship will soon restart supplying power to the city.
Since President Bio came to power two months ago, Freetown had relapsed to its old reputation of being the darkest city in the world , with daily balackouts. There had been complaints from Sierra Leoneans about what had now become an unusual feature of city life–FREQUENT POWER OUTAGES, given the fact that during the reign of the APC, electricity supply had been flowing smoothly in Freetown.
PRESIDENT BIO ( CENTRE ) AND OFFICIALS OF THE TURKISH SHIP
Before the last election, which Bio won, the APC had brought in the ship to supply light to the city while awaiting the completion of Bumbuna Phase 2. At that time, the action was met with vigorous condemnation by Bio’ s party , the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP).
According to APA News, the then APC government announced an energy deal with the government of Turkey to boost electricity supply in the capital city Freetown. Reported the news outlet : “The five-year deal entails the deployment of a power ship from the Karpowership, a member of the Karadeniz Energy Group based in Istanbul, Turkey. The group describes itself as a pioneer in innovative energy projects in existence for the last 20 years, with investments in domestic and international markets. It is said to be the first private electricity exporter in Turkey. The group describes itself as a pioneer in innovative energy projects in existence for the last 20 years, with investments in domestic and international markets. It is said to be the first private electricity exporter in Turkey.”
THE TURKISH POWER SHIP
It went on : “Energy Minister Henry Macauley confirmed Wednesday that the ship is already in the country, and that work was in progress to connect it to the national grid.The ship, according to the minister, was configured to supply 100 megawatt, but under the agreement with Sierra Leone it will supply only 30 mw of electricity to the capital city for the 5-year period. If in the long run there is need to expand the country’s power supply, the 70mw reserve could be accessed. However, the deal has also come under criticism, with citizens demanding details of the agreement, like how much it would cost the taxpayer.”
A local online newspaper , THE ORGANIZER, believed to be pro-SLPP , in a report, written by John Ngegba , had this to say, in part :
APC’s Power Shamble as Turkish Ship Contracted $200M to Electrify Freetown!
By John Ngegba (12/01/18)
“The APC government loves the expensive life. A life millions of Sierra Leone would never afford. What would an expensive project that is only limited to Freetown benefit the average Sierra Leonean? This is one of the reasons why the APC deserves to be permanently placed in opposition otherwise this country will be sold to transnational organised criminals. ”
Supporters of the SLPP on social media condemned the contract and ridiculed the APC at the time. It was even a choice electioneering campaign theme for the SLPP.
COCORIOKO learns that after the elections, the Turks cancelled the contract, thus plunging Freetown into the old era of erratic electricity supply and blackouts. It was also learnt that some officials of the incoming SLPP Government rejected the possibility of ever using the Turkish ship .They talked tough, raising the possibility of using alternate sources of restoring electricity.
But it would seem like after two months of serious power failures in the city, which had drawn complaints from residents and started making the new government unpopular, President Bio ate humble pie and decided to go to the Turks to revive the APC arrangements his party had denounced .
The lesson is that Sierra Leoneans must learn to stop politicizing everything and recognize the ultimate social and economic benefits of projects, regardless of which political party initiated it.