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President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio takes over energy ministry due to “Dumsor”

President of Sierra Leone, Julius Madaa Bio

President of the West African state of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, has taken over the ministry of energy in his country placing it directly under his office following acute energy supply challenges the country is faced with.

The decision of the Sierra Leonean leader, President Julius Maada Bio, was contained in a public notice issued by his office under the hand of the secretary to the President, Dr Julius F. Sandy.

“The General Public is hereby informed that, with immediate effect, the Ministry of Energy will be under the direct Ministerial supervision of His Excellency the President. He will be assisted by: Dr. Eldred Tunde Taylor, Deputy Minister 1, and Edmond Nonie, Deputy Minister 2,” the public notice from the office of the President, State House, Freetown, Sierra Leone read.

Background

The direct reason for Sierra Leone’s power shortages is the nation’s unpaid debts owed to the Turkish hydro-power company, Karpowership. Many Sierra Leoneans rely on electricity to produce cooling through air conditioning systems, which is essential in their tropical, hot climate, and to produce light in their homes.

As thousands of Sierra Leoneans cope with record-high heat and absolute darkness at night, many people are outraged and have demanded answers from the government concerning its inability to pay for electricity. In examining the events that have contributed to the power outages, it is evident that energy shortages are only one of the many issues caused by the shortcomings of the government.

Unlike power outages in other West African nations, blackouts in Sierra Leone have lasted for weeks on end, subjecting households and businesses to long periods of darkness. In a world dependent on electricity for day-to-day activities, the lack of electricity has disrupted many essential services, such as life-saving hospital care, education for its youth, and construction.

Sierra Leone’s $40 million debt to Karpowership came as a shock to many. The company’s move to cut off power has caused concern within the nation and on the international stage. Because the citizens are without substantial energy to power their homes, the severity of the situation puts more pressure on the government as citizens demand answers to their energy deficits.

The Turkish Power company’s choice to cut off power has negatively affected citizens’ satisfaction with their government and diminished national pride. Sierra Leone’s inability to alleviate any of its mounting debt over time highlights financial struggles and the fiscal irresponsibility of the Sierra Leonean government.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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