Weah Directs Gov’t Support To Hydro Project

...Appoints New Supt. For Gd. Bassa

MONROVIA-President Weah has issued Executive Order #120, establishing Steering Committee for St. Paul Hydro Power Plant and via Reservoir Storage unit Generating Projects.

By Executive Order #120, which was issued Monday, July 3, 2023, and takes immediate effect, President Weah has directed full government support to the Project, while designating it as a national and strategic infrastructure priority.

President Weah instructed that the high-level Steering Committee (SC) for the St. Paul River’s hydropower cascade system, which includes the Via Reservoir options and the St Paul River basin watershed management authority, will remain mandated and in full swing until the completion of all phases of development up to and including commissioning.

According to the President, Executive Order #120 is in support of Executive Order 116, directing that all ministries and entities of the Government of Liberia, cooperate to the fullest extent with all Liberian and international teams and components tasked with the successful conclusion of this critical project for the benefit of all the people of Liberia.

The President said the Minister of Mines and Energy will chair the Steering Committee as the energy sector lead, while its core members include the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, the Legal Advisor to the President, the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), the Minister of State Without Portfolio and the Chairman of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA).

According to EO #120, the Steering Committee will meet at least once every two calendar months with core members in attendance and will provide periodic reports to the President.

The President said heads of certain ministries and entities will be called upon to support the activities of the SC, as and when required, during and for specific and relevant phases of the project.

“These ministries and entities include but are not limited to the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC), the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NAFAA),” the Executive Order asserts.

The President asserted that the ministries and entities will be directed to join, attend meetings, and support the SC to guarantee the success of this project, the EO said, further stressing that the SC core members can request the President to adopt the composition of the SC as the project evolves.

It states further: “The SC shall also establish a Financial Mobilization Team (FMT), as a sub-component of the SC, tasked to directly engage potential donors and funders and which will be comprised of the Minister of Mines and Energy, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, the Legal Advisor to the President and the Acting LEC CEO.”

The President also directed that the SC shall form a Secretariat to support its meetings and activities, and at the same time follow-up on SC decisions and actions with the relevant ministries and agencies.

According to him, the Secretariat will be appointed by the SC core members and will be of a level of competence, qualification, and experience, and capable of fully supporting the functions and decisions of the SC.

He stated that the SC will ensure that all Ministries and Entities of Government fully and proactively support the SP2 projects Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), Resettlement Action Plan (RAP), and Environmental Management Plan (EMP).

President Weah also directed ministries and entities to fully support this project as requested by the SC, while also according to full support to the World Bank and West African Power Pool teams and consultants tasked with delivering this project.

He said the decision is shrouded in the fact that Liberia has abundant river and solar radiation resources for the generation of hydro and solar power, wherein only the Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant (MCHPP) is generating utility-scale renewable green energy;

The President also indicated that the decision is consistent with Liberia’s commitments to support the COP 26 agenda (COP26 United Kingdom 2022 and COP27 Egypt due in November 2023) and to remain committed to developing affordable renewable generation using associated natural resources;

President Weah opined the action is taken at the time international partners, such as the World Bank and the West African Power Pool, completed full feasibility study for a MCHPP hydro extension of an additional 44MW and a MCHPP solar project of 20MW, adding that these two components are fully funded and progressing under the World Bank Funded RESPITE project;

He said the World Bank and the West African Power Pool will shortly complete a bankable feasibility study for a second 150MW hydro project on the St Paul River (SP2), coupled with the World Bank’s commitment to both the SP2 and to the process of identifying other donors for the remaining funding to further development of the St. Paul River hydropower cascade system, including the Via Reservoir.

President Weah reckoned that the future economic and social development of our country is intrinsically linked to the development of affordable renewable energy and is in accordance with international COP commitments.

At the same time, President Weah has appointed Eddie Levi Williams as Superintendent of Grand Bassa County pending Confirmation by the Liberian Senate.

According to an Executive release, the Liberian Chief Executive made the appointment on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. Mr. Williams previously served as Assistant Superintendent of the County for decades.

Also appointed on Tuesday were Emmanuel Surprise Whea, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Victor Joe, Assistant Minister for International Cooperation and Economic Affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). These appointments are subject to confirmation by the Liberian Senate.

Meanwhile, President Weah has appointed Dr. Erasmus P. Siklih as President of Grand Kru Technical College. Also named at the helm of the Technical College are Rev. Technesco P. Brohdonyen and T. Dan Jah-Bestman Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs and Administration, respectively.

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