Bumbuna Town,Tonkolili District,Northeastern Sierra Leone,Saturday July 10,2021——Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy,Alhaji Kanja Sesay,has visited the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Dam,taken pressmen on a conducted tour of the facility and raised concerns over the potential adverse impact that human activities like farming and deforestation would cause to the dam.
Welcoming the Mnister and his team,Paramount Chief of Dansogoia Chiefdom,PC Alimamy Bockarie Yallah Koroma lll,said his chiefdom was honoured and privileged to receive and play host to the Minister and his team,describing Alhaji Kanja Sesay as a transformative and productive minister.
Speaking at Bumbuna Town,Alhaji Kanja Sesay said he was in the area to have a first-hand assessment of the dam and to take journalists around the facility. He described the visit as rewarding,noting that they had learnt several things and were overly impressed with the way SALINI Company was running the dam.
The Minister of Energy said the government was appreciative of SALINI’s efforts and role,adding that even when Sierra Leone would eventually have to enjoy the capacity and expertise in locally running the dam,a special level of consultancy and collaboration with SALINI would prove massively important.
He appealed to the company to expose its local staff to the operational and management areas of work,stressing that there was no immediate intention to sever government’s contract with the company.
Alhaji Kanja Sesay said he had received concerns from the company about deforestation and its potential impact on the dam and had verified those reports on his visit to the area.He said the Ministry had staff on the ground that had been in constant engagements with the communities.He spoke about plans to relocate some communities.
Plant Manager of SALINI,Ciro Serafino,said that at the apex of the rainy season,the dam roughly generates 50 megawatts which it sends directly to Makeni,Freetown and Bumbuna. He spoke about climatic vicissitudes which he noted had particularly affected the water levels at the dam and had forced them to be only supplying 20 megawatts.
He went on to say that the company had raised concerns over instances of deforestation and farming by communities around the dam,adding that the Minister had assured them that appropriate actions would be taken to address that challenge.
The energy sector reforms continue.