The National Water and Electricity and Company, NAWEC, pays the Senegalese energy giant Senelec an amount of D3.5 million a month (40 million CFA), the company’s director said.
At a press conference at the company’s headquarters on Thursday, Baba Fatajo said the national energy company could not get a better deal.
“The deal is good… we have documentary evidence. Since we started, the invoices we are getting from this deal is around 40 million CFA, which is D3.5 million for a month from Senelec,” he said.
“And if you take us back just a few months when we were using diesel, and we were operating for 13 hours on average, what we spent on only fuel excluding other operational costs, was around D4.7 million. So I would challenge whoever is saying this is a bad deal to give us a documentary evidence of their assertion.”
NAWEC stroke a deal with Senelec in 2017 to supply its customers with electricity in the rural areas. This happened following the regime change that placed the country on a transition to democracy.
The time for the signing of the deal was a very desperate moment for NAWEC when they were struggling to even supply 7 hours of electricity in most of Banjul and Serrekunda.
The content of the deal was never in the public space, arousing suspicion that it might have been bad for the country. But Fatajo said the suspicion of people he appeared to have referred to as “narrowed nationalists” is based on fear, not facts.
“For the first time, we are supplying Kerr Ayub area with 24 hours of uninterrupted electricity. And thanks to our deal with Senelec, we have been able to increase our operational hours in other areas. Today if you go to Basse, they used to have about 15 hours of electricity and now they are having 19 hours,” he said.
NAWEC is infamously the most indebted public company in the Gambia, owing D9 billion. This makes it difficult for it to attract investors. The company has not also been making profits over the years especially in rural areas where much of its electricity generation is social services.
But the government started a process to take 75% of NAWEC’s liabilities including the bond they have with commercial banks, famous social security loans and all the investment loans used on rural electrification programmes and water and sewage services.
In another desperate attempt to buy itself some time to reform the energy sector and increase its viability, NAWEC has contracted a Turkish company, Karpowership, to complement its electricity generation within these two years.
Based on the contract, the Turkish company which has its energy ship docked in Banjul will inject 30 megawatts of energy into the national grid.
The cost is $14.11 cents per kilowatts, according to the NAWEC director. Fatajo said the company is expected to start operations soon and that will significantly improve their efficiency.
(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Sourcing from The Torch)