The provision of social infrastructure to rural and peri-urban areas remains a priority of the Jammeh administration.
These remarks were made by Dr. Fatou Lamin Faye, the Basic Education Minister, on Friday at the inauguration of the Farafenni Power Station under the Rural Electrification Extension Project (REEP). The overall project, which includes the installation of two power plants at Farafenni and Basse, is funded through the Ecowas Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and the Government of The Gambia at a tune of over US$20M to provide electricity supply to 44 rural communities.
Speaking on behalf of President Jammeh, Minister Faye said social infrastructure in the rural communities is aimed at curbing rural-urban migration and by extension make the youth to stay in their communities to contribute to national development in their communities and avoid congesting the urban area in search of jobs that are not there.
“22 years ago this country witnessed the single most important event that promised to deliver a modern and prosperous society to its entire citizenry. There was a lot of skepticism in the early stages of our progressive revolution. Today we have not only delivered on our promises, but have even superseded the expectations of Gambians,” she affirmed.
“Government remains steadfast in the provision of requisite infrastructure and social services to all corners of our country. Since 1994, we have invested substantially in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, bringing power to communities all over the country.”
Ebrima Sanyang, the Managing Director of NAWEC, said the REEP was conceived a couple of years ago with a view to extend power supply to many more Gambians by expanding the current transmission and distribution systems and equally improve power generation facilities.
“The first ever Rural Electrification Project, which provided modern grid electricity to almost all the major towns and villages numbering 46 in NBR, LRR, CRR, and URR was completed in 2006. The current REEP was developed to compliment the sustenance of the existing infrastructure and its related efficient operations as well as extend grid electricity to more and more Gambians,” he said.
He disclosed that the Government has secured US$10M for phase two of the current project, which would be completed in 2017. “With the anticipated completion of phase two of this project in 2017, the entire NBR, LRR, and part of CRR up to Kaur will be one grid whose power supply shall entirely be from this plant, the current mini grids of Kerewan and Barra shall all be linked to Farafenni and this plant will operate 24hrs.”
The new project, he said, would reposition the town of Farafenni, Jarra Soma and Barra as centres of economic activity in the sub-region and significantly improve their re-export potentials and trade activities.
Mohan Puri, Managing Director of Mohan Energy Corporation, the contractors, lauded the Gambian leader for bringing change to Gambians. Mohan Energy, he said, was proud to be awarded the contract and hope the new project will be of benefit to the beneficiaries.
Governor Lamin Quin Jammeh of NBR described the occasion as a moment of pride for the people of the beneficiary communities. He commended the Jammeh administration for the numerous developments brought to rural communities.
by Alieu Ceesay on nationwide tour