General News Wed, 12 Mar 2008

Liberia praises on Ghana for restoring electricity

Monrovia, March 12, GNA - Ghana's historic participation in the restoration of electricity to the Liberian capital, Monrovia, came to an end on Tuesday at a colourful ceremony to show appreciation to the Ghanaian Government.

The gratitude to Ghana and, in particular, to the officials of Volta River Authority (VRA) that implemented the project, was echoed in various speeches at the ceremony as well as at other functions held to host the Ghanaian delegation.

The Liberian Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai said: "The VRA has done a splendid job not only in installing new power generators and new distribution lines but also providing the manpower required for the Liberian Electricity Company (LEC) staff."

He said, two years ago when the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf promised to bring back electricity in six months, little did she knew that the task was a daunting one, but hope was uplifted when President John Agyekum Kufuor promised to help and appointed VRA as the implementing agency.

Vice President Boakai said the 14 years of civil war left Liberia in total ruins, as installations of electricity equipment from transmission to distribution lines were completely destroyed in Monrovia and other parts of the country.

"Monrovia was indeed a dark city for many years, and now we have to rebuild everything from scratch," he said.

Vice President Boakai said power had been restored through the concerted effort of a people (Ghana) that was committed and loving. "This is truly a relationship with a meaning. Thank you for the African spirit of brotherhood. In fact VRA has become another regional example in the area of cooperation," he said.

The Vice President said the relationship between Ghana and Liberia transcended the VRA in the restoration of the generation of electricity adding, "Ghana has played a significant peacekeeping role from the days of the ECOMOG and up till now."

Mr Kwame Amporfo-Twumasi, Minister of Energy, who led the delegation to witness the closing ceremony, said the project, the first phase of the Emergency Power Programme (EPP) in Liberia, comprised the procurement, design and installation of four new diesel generating sets with a total capacity of 3.3 megawatts.

He said about 45 Ghanaians worked directly on the construction works in Monrovia with about 200 people in Ghana responsible for the engineering design, planning, logistics, consolidation and packaging of distribution materials and equipment used for the project. Mr Amporfo-Twuamsi said the EPP had created the platform for growth of the Liberian power sector and commended the Liberian government for initiating the development of a new energy policy.

He said Ghana was ever ready to lend its support in engineering, training and strategic policy to Liberia as it made efforts to rebuild its hydroelectric station, which was totally destroyed during the war. A visit to the station known as the Mount Coffee Hydroelectric Station by the Ghanaian delegation showed that the plant has to be rebuilt with experts putting the cost at 250 million dollars. Mr Amporfo-Twumasi said: "We stand ready to share the lessons from our National Electrification Programme, and the Rural and Self-Help Electrification Programmes as well as our power sector reforms that have among other things led to the creation and institutionalisation of regulatory mechanisms."

The Deputy Minister urged the Liberian people to ensure that the beautiful ceremony lived beyond its symbolism.

"May it remind all of us that we have a duty to build upon what we have started and a duty to protect these critical infrastructure that are very central to the development and functional growth of any nation," Mr Amporfo-Twumasi said.

Dr Eugene Shannon, Liberia's Minister of Energy, Lands and Mines, described Ghana's role as an accomplishment which carried with it a clear showpiece of building healthy relationship that must be emulated by all to move the continent forward.

He announced that Phase II of the EPP, which involves expansion of electricity to other parts of the Monrovia, would end in July this year. Mr Harry T. Yuah, Managing Director of the LEC, said the cooperation between the VRA and LEC was widely known and appreciated by many in Liberia today.

Ms Abla Fiadjoe, Director, Corporate Services of VRA, presented gifts to President Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai. She also presented certificates of distinction to three LEC officials, including one woman, among the 21-member trainees.

Phase I of the EPP restored electricity to three main areas of the City of Monrovia, namely, Congo, Kru and Paynesville Towns. 12 March 08

Source: GNA