The managing director of state-owned electricity and water utilities company, Nawec, has defended his decision to sign an energy deal with Senegal’s electricity company, SENELEC.

Baba Fatajo said the deal is good for the Gambia and Gambians will benefit greatly from improved and more reliable energy supply.

“The deal is good. We could not get anything better,” he told journalists during at a news conference held Thursday at Nawec’s headquarter, located around Wesfield Junction, Kanifing.

The power supply agreement between SENELEC and Nawec has been the subject of tense online debates as many critics denounced the ‘lack of transparency’ over the process that led to the signing of the deal.

The issue topped the press conference held
last week by President Adama Barrow and his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall.

But Mr Fatajo said the World Bank (WB), one of the leading Bretton Woods institutions, was even surprised about the tariffs Nawec was able to negotiate with SENELEC.

He reiterated that if it was a bad deal,
World Bank (WB) would not have taken the decision to fund the project.

He disclosed that Nawec is paying to Senegal 3.5 million Dalasis per month. “When we were using diesel and operating for 13 hours (not 24 hours),the fuel cost was around 4.7 million Dalasis. I would challenge whoever is saying this is a bad deal to give us any documentary
evidence,” he said while emphasizing this does not include other operational costs.

He urged Gambians to put the issue to rest as they don’t have time to be arguing with ‘so-called experts.’

Mr Fatajo also seized the opportunity to shed light on the issue of cross border electrification, noting that it is not something new. He cited the cases West African states such as Ghana, Togo and Benin tied with a similar project.

“Morocco and Algeria don’t have diplomatic ties, but are now linked with a power supply agreement,” he stated.

He advised Gambians to desist from succumbing to narrow nationalism, which he said will never take us anywhere.

“It is the era of electricity without borders.”

Wriiten by Abdoulie JOHN