Finance Minister, Amara Konneh has said that the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Power Plant is an outcome of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s bold leadership and an important centerpiece of her “Agenda for Transformation (AfT).”
The government’s AfT is a five-year development plan that intends to put Liberia on the path to achieving the much publicized Vision 2030 Programs.
The goal of Vision 2030, according to government sources, is to make Liberia a middle income country in 18 years (2012-2030). The government intends to achieve this through provision of affordable and reliable power; which would subsequently lead to the booming of economic and industrial activities
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday January 25, Minister Konneh said that the occasion was an important step in bringing reliable and affordable power to more people across the country.
The ceremony was held at the location of the plant in Harrisburg, Careysburg District, Montserrado County; approximately 21 miles from Monrovia. The Mount Coffee hydro plant lies on the Saint Paul River.
"The ground-breaking for the Mount Coffee hydro plant is an important step in bringing power to more people across the country. The project is partly funded by significant investment from the Government of Liberia as a key element of its public sector investment strategy. This would provide a boost to businesses and light manufacturing industries, increasing employment opportunities," the finance boss said
He indicated that government had infused roughly US$45 million to the energy sector, which has been termed on many occasions as a “national emergency” by President Sirleaf.
“It is very important that we do all we can to ensure that Mount Coffee becomes a success, even if we have to cut foreign travel, gas, scratch-cards and recurrent spending to save money and ensure that projects like this succeed,” Konneh pleaded with his fellow government colleagues.
“For those of us who need to understand the extent to which this country was destroyed and the bold steps we are taking to revitalize our infrastructure, come to Mount Coffee and see,” he challenged.
The cost to build the hydro plant during the 1960s was US$80 million; but renovating is estimated at between US$250-300 million dollars—evidence the project is an expensive one.
The nation’s treasury boss also expressed gratitude to all partners who have contributed to not only the rehabilitation of Mt. Coffee hydro plant, but to other sectors within the economy at large.
Germany’s Ambassador Ralph Timmermann said he was particularly excited by the initiative and its potential to benefit government’s revenue generation schemes as well as thousands of small and medium entrepreneurs.
The Ambassador of Norway, Hege Hertzberg, said that the government and the people of Norway are impressed with the level of progress made by the government in ensuring that Liberia becomes a middle-income country by 2030.
‘’Madam President, Norway is so impressed by your leadership and the dedication you have shown during this extremely difficult time of reconstruction, not only in Mt. Coffee but the entire Liberia,”
“We are very proud to call ourselves your friends Madam President; therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to confirm Norway’s promise to support your endeavors in the energy sector, specifically the reconstruction of Mt. Coffee,” Ambassador Hertzberg said.
The Project Director, Mr. Randal Enns, assured that by 2015, the hydro plant would be in full swing. He said its impact in the economy would be felt across the country.
As President Sirleaf unveiled the hydro plant’s design, she assured Liberians that by December 2015 the Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant would be fully completed and would impact them in a variety of ways.
“So many people have worked hard to make this day a reality. The LEC folks, the Ministers, the workers that you see standing around you, the Legislators and our partners, have all worked tirelessly for us to be here. The fruits of their labor will allow us to start the process of the restoration of power through the Mt. Coffee Hydro plant,’’ she explained.
The hydro plant, when fully rehabilitated, is anticipated to supply 60 Mega Watts of reliable and affordable electricity to residents and businesses of Monrovia and its immediate environs.