By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
The Government of Japan in partnership with the Government of Liberia through the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) has officially broken ground for a project for the rehabilitation of Monrovia Power System, known as the construction of 10 Mega Watt Heavy Fuel Oil Power Plant.
At a well attended ceremony held yesterday at the Bushrod Island Power Station, Japanese Ambassador to Liberia and Ghana Naoto Nikai said the grant assistance has been made as a result of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s request to the Government of Japan during one of her visits last year.
The Japanese Ambassador told officials of LEC and the audience that access to energy service is indispensable to national development and poverty reduction. He mentioned that energy provision has been deemed a national emergency, where affordable electricity for business and domestic use today is one of the major priorities.
“The key problem to address is low electricity generation capacity. High cost is another problem. Electricity in Liberia is among the most expensive in Africa. This reflects the high global cost of oil used to run the private generators that currently supply most of the electricity needed in the country,” Ambassador Naoto Nikai said.
Ambassador Naoto Nikai further narrated that the project is designed to provide combination to meet the need in electricity, the installation of 10MW heavy fuel oil fired medium speed diesel generators, the construction of a new power house and the supply of maintenance vehicle to the LEC. The project is aimed at creating a stable power supply system in Monrovia in order to improve the living standards among the people, through ensuring more stable operation of public facilities such as hospitals and schools, and thereby boosting industrial activities and revitalizing economy.
Speaking separately, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of LEC Mr. Joseph T. Mayah disclosed that the construction is expected to last for a year and has officially commenced.
Lands, Mines, and Energy Minister Patrick P. Sendolo lauded the Japanese government for the support to Liberia and described the project as a true demonstration of partnership.
In a special remark, the Acting Chair of the Board of Directors, LEC Benedict Sannoh said the project will increase the availability of electricity in the country and he expressed the optimism that the people of Liberia will soon feel the impact of the project.
The project is being executed by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA). The contractor is Mitsubish Corporation/ Dai Nippon Construction Consortium, Tokyo, Japan, while the Consultant to the project is Yachiyo Engineering Corporation Limited also from Tokyo.