President Weah Wants Competition in Electricity Sector, As He Mandates LEC to Expedite Service to Citizens
The Liberian leader, President George Manneh Weah has mandated the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to improve the speed and quality of its services to the people of Liberia. He said the LEC is doing little to meet growing demands of the populace thus triggering disenchantment and upheavals amongst the people.
The President said with the apparent lack of adequate capacity on the part of the LEC to improve its services, a viable alternative would be to open up the electricity sector by sourcing out distribution and other services to competent private companies.
“In these modern times, electricity is a basic need for all and my government will not allow anyone play with such a need,” the President said in a meeting with the management of the LEC Thursday, December 13, 2018 at the company’s Waterside headquarters.
“Since the LEC is finding it difficult to meet high demand for electricity, something that is causing our people to be upset, the solution is to open the sector so that private companies will compete in servicing the growing power need of the people.”
The President said allowing competition in the electricity and energy sector will solve the problem power theft and under-distribution of electricity to the people and the resultant uprising for connection.
President Weah acknowledged growing and widespread illegal connections which he blamed on LEC’s inability to provide urgent needed services and lack of patience by citizens.
“If the problem has been the LEC not having the capacity to do the job alone, in the shortest possible time to get people in the various communities connected,” he noted; “then it means that there is a need for some competitions.”
“If it means that they need some help to expedite the process, then there will be a need for other private people to come and help with expediting the process to satisfy the needs of the Liberian people.”
The Management acknowledged the President’s concerns but alluded to challenges the corporation is facing. In a presentation, the Corporation outlined several challenges, including procurement procedures and power theft which cost the loss of USD$35 million annually. But the President told the LEC management that it needed to boggle up and overcome the challenges because, according to him, Liberians out there are not waiting for PowerPoint presentation to assuage their discomfort in the lack of electricity.
“For me, I am a practical person. I am not fond of much theory,” he said. “Our people need light today, and we must find the solution quickly.”
President Weah also recalled that as Senator of Montserrado County, he ensured that the LEC was invited on many occasions to provide clear-cut reasons for the failure to provide services to the people. He also bemoaned the lack of transformation at the LEC since it was formed.
He said: “Since 1986, I came here to look for job. This place is still the same and nothing has changed. And so, if it means that we will have to bring other competitors to help you people expedite the process, then so be it. But we are not willing to wait any more while our people continue die as a result of power theft and the lack of electricity.”