Margibi – On Wednesday, May 1, a groundbreaking ceremony for a US$31.8 million project was held along the Roberts International Airport highway, with a call for citizens to avoid creating hurdles to stall the project.
The venture is being funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) to expand electricity to 14,000 new customers along that corridor.
Henry Kimber, project coordinator said residents have the responsibility to cooperate as customers.
However, Kimber told those residents, who witnessed the ceremony that every home won’t be connected at-once. He urged them to have patience when the installation starts and they, too, will be served.
“We are not political; we connect indiscriminately. That is our mandate; you be required to please cooperate as customers,” he said.
He further advised them to avoid lighting fire at installation sites and already installed cables.
“Don’t put structures along the corridor, it will delay our job; so you have to help us to help you,” Kimber further told them.
The project is under the Liberia Energy Efficiency and Access Project (LEEAP). It entails the construction of 66-Kilovolts (kV) double circuit transmission lines from Paynesville to RIA.
Two new substations of 66/22 KV and 66/33 Kv will also be constructed in Schiefflin and Harbel in Margibi County as well as the construction of medium voltage/low voltage network in communities along the ELWA – RIA corridor.
Pascal Buckley, CEO of LEC said most times when visitors arrived at night, the route is always dark. According to him, a perception is immediately conceived in the minds of the strangers that the country has no electricity.
The electrification project, according to him, will change the perception about the country.
The LEC head disclosed that power theft remains a major challenge to the corporation and that it is allegedly contributing to the entity’s leaking dwindling account.
“Those stealing LEC current are creating a challenge for us; only you all can stop this.”
Theodorus Kaspers, European Union head of cooperation, said electricity is a key driver of economic growth and the EU remains committed to supporting Liberia in many other critical sectors.
He disclosed that the EU has been asked to work with other projects including the electrification of other counties in South-eastern Liberia.
AFDB Country Manager Orison Amu disclosed that though the project has delayed, he hoped that there would be no hurdles created to stall the implementation.
He asked donors to be flexible during the project and beneficiaries to cooperate with contractors effectively.
Margibi District #1 lawmaker, Representative Tibelrosa Tarponweh, said when it is dark, the corridor is considered a death trap. He promised to work with his constituents living the route to join in and work with the contractors so that project becomes a success.
He said the project will bring economic relief to the district he represents in the Legislature.