By: Foday Manneh
The National Water and Electricity Company of the Gambia (NAWEC) has, on Monday, 27th March 2023, at a press conference, announced a new tariff rate for water and electricity commencing effective April 2023.
According to the NAWEC Managing Director Nani Juwara, the new increment will help their sustainability measures supply water and electricity to the Public meaningfully.
However, the Public has received this news with a bitter taste; many people called on the only national utility water and electricity provider to rescind its decision on the new tariff.
“The utility regulator (PURA) has approved an increase in tariffs for electricity and water. Following a lengthy review and consultation processes,” NAWEC Managing Director Nani Juwara told journalists.
He added, “The increase is necessitated to cover the rising costs of production and maintenance and to ensure that we can continue to provide the public with water and electricity services.”
However, reacting to these increments by NAWEC, a shopkeeper at the Serekunda Market, Biram Saine, described the new tariffs as “myopic” and absurd.
“Electricity is costly in the Gambia. I have shops, and in each, I spend D1500 on cash power every three days. So I think these increment is just helping one side and are ridiculous. It adds more to the wounds than decreases for ordinary people,” Saine stated.
Meanwhile, another resident of Bundung, Lamin Jammeh, said the increment is the least expected from NAWEC.
“I expect NAWEC to help alleviate suffering already faced by the population due to the rigging Ukraine-Russia war, but not to use the war as a weapon ‘to eat from us the poor .’This country is moving in a bad direction. How did high commodity prices affect NAWEC?” Lamin quizzed in a desperate tone.
“Their decision is bad and is never promising to change any soon. Therefore, I urge them to rescind it for the betterment of the poor Gambians,” the Bundung man urged NAWEC.
In her reaction, Mariama Sanneh said the increment is meaningless until the quality of water and electricity is affordable, accessible, and reliable to the Public.
“I am not sure any genuine Gambian will welcome this development. NAWEC is giving less than 40% of quality in both water and electricity. So many people are not getting water consistently and will pay for these tariffs. That’s inhuman,” she chanted.
Meanwhile, NAWEC said the new tariffs were principally meant to assure sustainability measures of water and electricity infrastructure to enhance the quality and reliability of services.
Currently, NAWEC enjoys a monopoly on water and electricity.