The Government of Liberia (GoL) and the European Union (EU) on Thursday, December 6, entered into an €18.9 million (about US$21.5 million) contract agreement with MBH Power Limited-Nigeria for the design and construction of electricity distribution network in Monrovia to help address the increased demand for energy in various parts of the city.
MBH Power Limited is a total energy solutions company providing world-class services to meet the growing demand of the power sector in emerging markets. It focuses on Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) solutions in transmission and distribution, metering and energy audit and turnkey solutions in conventional and non-conventional power generation.
The installation of the new power distribution network will allow the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to connect more homes and increase its customer base, to absorb the increased quantity and much cheaper energy expected to be generated by the Mount Coffee Hydro Dam in White Plains, Lower Montserrado County.
The distribution network, according to the agreement, will connect 38,000 small households in Monrovia and its immediate environs, thus contributing to the increase of energy supply to its people.
Communities expected to be connected through the project include Peace Island in Congo Town, TB Annex (from the Congo Town back road to ELWA Junction, GSA Road, Zubah Town, Rehab Road, SKD Sports Complex (around), Rock Crusher, LBS and behind the German Embassy in Congo Town.
The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel Tweah, signed on behalf of Government of Liberia, while Rachit Shah, Marketing Manager of MBH Power Limited, signed on behalf of his company.
Shortly after signing the agreement, Minister Tweah conveyed on behalf of President George Weah profound gratitude to EU for its numerous manifestations of support to Liberia.
“The EU,” Tweah noted, “is definitely one of Liberia’s most trusted partners in its development drive, because it has stood behind Liberia as a country through its dark days of war and even in the post-war era.”
He said the EU remains one of the country’s strongest partners.
According to Minister Tweah, “There will be no progress in the country’s development agenda unless we change the electricity space. This is why electricity is a binding constraint to growth and development as indicated by several studies conducted over the past several years.”
He stressed that the EU’s gesture will take Liberia one step closer to its development realization.
“Electricity and roads are the two main constraints to development in this country, because without power,” Tweah insisted, “no matter what we do, the Pro-Poor Agenda will not succeed.”
Mr. Tweah further reaffirmed the commitment of the government and the LEC to work aggressively to ensure a radical increase in the transmission of electricity to the people of Liberia.
“We will begin to see real dividends for our people as the constraints of power are being relaxed, bringing relief to this country,” he said.
Minister Tweah noted that in order to bridge the future gap of electricians, the EU has in its vocational training program, the education and training of electricians in certain Technical Vocation and Educational Training (TVET) schools in the country, with a strong focus on skills development for rural electrification.
“The EU as well as the Liberian government realize that in order for our national electrification program to succeed, we must train electricians,” said Minister Tweah.
Juan Antonio Frutos, Deputy Head of Delegation and Chargé d’Affaires on behalf of the EU, reaffirmed the EU’s partnership and commitment to supporting Liberia.
“The two sectors of road and electricity are the backbone of the infrastructural development of Liberia and the EU is strongly supporting the government in the materialization of its priorities in both sectors,” Mr. Frutos emphasized.
“It is foreseen that the Government of Liberia will make the budget available for the resettlement compensation of the local population, Frutos noted.
“The EU,” he said, “counts on the goodwill of all authorities to carry out the necessary actions in an efficient and fair manner, ensuring a smooth project implementation without unnecessary delays.”
According to Frutos, it is foreseen that the project, from the very beginning, will urgently need a number of junior electrical engineers, particularly undergraduate students, who are in their junior and senior years. They would have an opportunity to learn through the project.
He described the EU as one of the principal contributors to the development of infrastructure in Liberia, mainly roads and energy, and continues to make a significant contribution to the development of regional infrastructure in West Africa.
Mr. Frutos also cited the substantial contributions made by the EU and European Bank to the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee hydro Power Plant.
“Apart from the already mentioned Monrovia consolidation Lot 2, there are additional two other projects in preparation, called the Technical Assistant Support to Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission in the amount of €3 million, and support to Rural Electrification in Liberia’s southeast, amounting to €42 million,’’ Frutos said.
LEC Chief Executive Officer, John Ashley, said the entity is delighted to welcome this long awaited project, which is about to strengthen the distribution network of transmission in central Monrovia and its environs.
The project, Ashley said, will be fast-tracked by them.
He further noted that the agreement will also provide access to meters and repair of 1,000 transformers for customers.