Ganta Prepares to Negotiate With Jungle Energy to Reactivate Street Lights

GANTA, Nimba – The City of Ganta is preparing to hold negotiation talks with the management of Jungle Energy Power, Inc. to restore street lights in Liberia’s second largest city.

When electricity was initially brought to Ganta, the city’s streets were well lit at night. During this period, the project was jointly managed by the Liberia Electricity Cooperation; the Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy; and the Ghanaian contracting company, Energy Venture Inc.

However, as time went by, fewer street lights functioned. Amos Kakia, who coordinated the project then, told The Bush chicken that power fluctuation was the cause of many street lights being damaged. He noted that spare parts to repair the damaged lights had to be imported from Ghana or India “and we don’t have the money to pay for them right now.”

When Jungle Energy took over managing the electricity service in Ganta, the private company took down the damaged lights, with the understanding that the company would repair and replace the dysfunctional lights. However, Jungle Energy’s management has said that it cannot cover all the associated costs.

The city corporation’s plan to meet with the management of Jungle Energy comes days after the CEO of the company, Floyd Z. Tomah, declared that the costs associated with repairing and replacing street lights must be paid for by the municipal authorities.

According to Tomah, the contract signed between his company and the Liberian government to manage the cross-border electricity project acknowledged that charges for all public facilities consuming electricity, including the street lights, would be covered by the public.

“The city authority and citizens that are benefiting from the street lights are the ones to pay for it,” Tomah had earlier said. He added that as a son of Nimba, he has a responsibility to give back to the people of Nimba “but at the moment, [Jungle Energy] is not even self-sustainable. If we manage to clear our debts with Ivory Coast and we start to make profit at [Jungle Energy], we can provide the street lights; but right now, we cannot afford to pay for the street lights.”

The meeting between Mayor Benjamin Dokpah, the City Council, and the company’s heads, is meant to determine a way out of the predicament.

“Owing to the fact that we are do not have the capacity to pay for the street lights, we are making some efforts with [Jungle Energy] to see that… we can underwrite some of the cost and then, the rest of the other cost can come through our municipal fees from [Jungle Energy],” Dokpa said.

Dokpa further said that he believes that not all of the street lights were damaged but that the company had taken down lights that were not defective.

As the Christmas season approaches, Dokpa is under pressure to ensure that the street lights are restored to the city.

“We will also be calling on our business people in Ganta to see how they too can make some meaningful contributions to the payment for the street lights,” the mayor said.

Featured photo by Arrington Ballah

A resident of Ganta, Nimba County, Arrington has a background working with credit unions and other organizations dedicated to rural finance.

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