By: Foday Manneh
A group of young Gambians, including activists, are renewing their call for the country’s water and electricity company, Nawec, to bring back cheaper electricity tariffs threatening to storm the street should the company fail to adhere to their demand.
The ‘Team Gomsa Bopa’ organization spearheaded the campaign for cheaper tariffs. It has announced plans to hold a peaceful demonstration to express its dissatisfaction with the new increased electricity tariffs by the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC).
In April 2023, the electricity company increased their tariffs, which they say was meant to help their sustainability measures supply water and electricity to the public meaningfully. This, however, was welcomed by consumers with a bitter taste, with many calling on them to rescind their decision.
According to the pressure group, the price of electricity has increased to 37% and water to 20%, making the Gambia the fifth most expensive country in terms of buying electricity in West Africa. And this situation is forcing them to take to the streets and demand swift tariff changes.
“Our group will work with Gambians of all spheres to peacefully demonstrate our dissatisfaction with NAWEC over their latest tariff increases which will surely compound the cost of other goods and services after the transportation price hike earlier in the year,” the team told reporters at a press conference on Friday.
Meanwhile, the movement challenged the Gambia’s Public Utility and Regulatory Authority (PURA) for failing to ensure that NAWEC consulted the public on the plans to increase the tariffs required by the PURA Act 2001. The group added that PURA also showed no interest in addressing NAWEC’s poor standard of service delivery.
“The NAWEC’s electricity road map published in November 2023, the average monthly electricity expenditure of households in rural areas was just over D1,150 and over D1,780 in urban areas. With this 37% Tariff increase, the average monthly electricity expenditure of households on electricity will exceed D1,570 in rural areas and D2,440 in urban areas,” the group said.
The concerned youth who go with the slogan “Dafadoy,” meaning Enough is Enough, has also called on the security, most especially the Inspector General of Police, to grant them a permit to hold a peaceful demonstration as their rights while they intend to engage the public on other meaningful developments further.
“Our movement will be conducting local sensitizations in public to discuss the latest price hike. We implore NAWEC to tell Gambians why they have introduced this extortionate new tariff,” the group said.