By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambian lawmakers have on Monday 6th March 2023, ratified the loan agreement for the financing of restoration and modernization of electricity in the tune of D32 Million Euros (D2.1 billion dalasi).
Tabling the motion before the lawmakers the Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Abdoulie Jobe informed lawmakers that the overarching objective of the component four of the Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project dubbed GERM is the solarization of 1000 schools and 100 health facilities across the Gambia.
The government of the Gambia launched the National Development Plan 2018-2022 in 2018, with the aim to deliver good governance, accountability, social cohesion and national reconciliation, as well as a revitalized and transformed economy for the wellbeing of the Gambia.
He stressed that one of the eight strategic priorities of the NDP, is building the country’s infrastructure and restoring energy services to power the country’s economy.
“The Gambia is experiencing electricity situation in certain parts of the country, form the inability of the sector to meet growing demands. Nevertheless, the government strives to attain universal access to electricity by 2025 five years before the timeline set for ECOWAS,” he said.
The objective he added will be attained via sustained investment to improve the nation’s transmission and distribution networks, governance of the electricity sector and investment in renewable energy.
“In accordance with the aforementioned strategic priority of the NDP, the European Investment Bank, in collaboration with the International Development Association, commits to providing support to the government of the Gambia through GERM, primarily aimed at restoration and modernization of the electricity sector,” said Minister Jobe.
He explained, “Financing for component four for GERM is a tripartite package involving a loan of 8 million Euro, coupled with a grant of 24 million euro, and a technical assistance of 3 million euro. This makes the facility highly concessional with a grant element result of more than 80 percent according to the International Monetary Fund guidelines”.
The goal of GERM Minister Jobe dilated is to improve the electricity service of the Gambia component four of the GERM consist of on grid and off grid photovoltaic battery system installations, operation and maintenance of 100 schools and facilities especially in remote areas of the country.
This component he said includes a significant amount of technical assistance to prepare the ground for the implementation, create its promoters and support its implementation, and that the component finances two main expenditures namely the capital expenditure(which entails acquisition and installation of the off grid, PV systems, batteries etc) and operation and maintenance expenditure(which includes cost of operating including the borrowers of public authority staff cost and maintaining PV system) with routine inspection and periodic replacement the major components.
He remarked that the European Investment Bank, envisages the ratification of the financing agreement, and that the assembly is hereby informed of the signing of the aforementioned agreement, and it is highly requested to support its implementation by providing overall oversight.
“The Effective implementation of this project will contribute significantly to attainment of the NDP objective especially the strategic objective of building our infrastructure and restoring energy services to power our economy,” he said.
“I rise to invite to this august assembly to ratify the following agreement for component four of the Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project between the European Investment Bank and the Government of the Gambia,” Minister Jobe moved.
The lawmakers after lengthy debate on the agreement unanimously ratified the agreement, adding that this will improve the wellbeing of Gambians especially those in the remote areas of the country without having access to electricity supply.