President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Tuesday, September 13, told hundreds of cheerful Snow Hill Community residents that she was fulfilling promises she made years ago when her Unity Party asked Liberians to vote her into power. Snow Hill is located in the Gardnersville-Supermarket area.
Chief among the many promises the President made to Liberians when she contested for the presidency was the provision of electricity before the end of her tenure in 2018.
“We are delivering on our promise,” the President told community residents. “Anyone who comes and says something different to you, don’t agree with them. Tell them ‘the promises she made, she is keeping her promises,’” she said to a round of applause from happy residents, most of whom have lived without 24/7 electricity for a good portion of their lives. The audience predominantly included young people, and a few elderly.
She also urged them that when the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) begins to connect their homes, they should be good citizens by paying their bills.
Following her brief remarks, she along with the Ambassador of Japan to Liberia, Mr. Kaoru Yoshimura, turned on the street lights in the community.
Before the President had arrived in the Snow Hill Community, she was followed by some of her senior officials to the LEC Bushrod Island Compound, where she and Ambassador Yoshimura also turned on the Japanese-funded US$27 million Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) power plant, which supplies the electricity to the Snow Hill Community.
Speaking before he turned the plant over to President Sirleaf, Amb. Yoshimura stated: “The project, which was signed in an agreement in 2013, will boost the energy sector by increasing the number of electricity consumers and reduce tariff on electricity in the country.
Essentially, it will go a long way to improve the socioeconomic conditions of Liberians. Industries will comfortably operate their machineries assured of reliable and constant supply of electricity. Productivity will increase, trickling down to economic improvements in the lives of workers.”
The Japanese diplomat further stated that children will now experience the convenience of learning at night with their lights on and that Monrovia would be as “bright as the future, full of promising prospects for growth. This brightness would translate into economic explosion and Liberia would be a beacon of Africa’s success.”
He further told Liberians that the rehabilitation of the power system, as well as many other projects his country’s government is supporting in Liberia, is a demonstration of Japan’s commitment to realizing a “quality Liberia.”
The Japanese Ambassador also stated that the project aims to ensure the continuous and stable supply of electric power to most parts of Monrovia.
“The completion of this project is very significant, because it will contribute also to Liberia’s resilience and progress in the quest for post-Ebola recovery. The Ebola epidemic in Liberia was a major drawback to development. Many projects, including this one which we are handing over today, were brought to temporary standstill during the outbreak. The challenges with Ebola didn’t break the hope of this country. It rather strengthened your resolve to progress and taught you vital lessons for your walk towards development,” he said.
Amb. Yoshimura stated that when they decided to resume the project in 2015, they were of the conviction that the Liberian government was capable of bringing the epidemic under control and set out concrete steps to ensure that the country recovers from the damages that were brought by the virus. “We have not been disappointed,” he added.
Speaking earlier, the Lands, Mines and Energy Minister, Mr. Patrick Sendolo, stated that if the plant is properly maintained it can serve the nation for more than 30 years.
Min. Sendolo thanked the LEC team for bringing the project to fruition, and added: “The Japanese have been very good partners in all of this.”
Mr. Curtis Lavallee, LEC Acting Chief Executive Officer, in his overview of the project, disclosed that the initial completion time for the project was December 2014, but that it was delayed because of the outbreak of Ebola.
Koji Makino, a representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which constructed the power plant, said he was happy to be a part of the ceremony.
“I’m happy to announce that this is a remarkable achievement for our relationship. More than 30 years ago, we constructed another HFO plant in this same compound, but it was destroyed during the civil war. We are happy to contribute to the happiness of the more than one million people in Monrovia,” he added.
For his part, Mr. Ian Yhap, Chairman of LEC Board of Directors, stated that President Sirleaf’s dream of restoring electricity to Liberia has taken a giant step forward. He stated that the engineers used the best technologies to bring the plant to fruition, and that Liberians were also trained to handle the equipment.
President Sirleaf was also joined by Foreign Minister Marjon V. Kamara and Public Works Minister W. Gyude Moore in inaugurating the power plant.
About the 10 Megawatts HFO
The plant was constructed and completed through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It is a 10MW thermal plant, under the grant aid “The Project for Rehabilitation of Monrovia Power System,” installed as two-5MW HFO fire medium speed diesel generators, switchgears, spare parts and maintenance tools. The plant was constructed by engineers from the Japanese company and assisted by few Liberians working alongside authorities of the LEC. A new powerhouse with fuel transfer pump house was also constructed. The grant project forms part of JICA’s continuous support promoting Liberia in its economic growth. This Japanese-funded 10MW plant now brings the total to 38MW of electricity supplied from the LEC Bushrod Island plant. Two previous plants, funded by the World Bank, as well as a
Norwegian-funded substation, supplied 28MW to Monrovia.