GOL, Vale Discuss Mt. Coffee
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, announced Monday that negotiations with a Brazilian firm - Vale are nearing completion for the reconstruction of Mount Coffee hydro plant.
The hydro which was the major source of power generation got destroyed during the early years of the prolonged civil war.
“I am therefore pleased to announce that as a result on my trip to Brazil last year, we have been able to attract their leading companies to Liberia.
"Therefore, we're nearing conclusion of negotiations with Vale, the Brazilian mining company, to reconstruct our original hydro facility at Mount Coffee,” President Sirleaf said in her state of the nation address Monday.
She said government is also in dialogue with partners to have the facility expanded by creating upstream storage on the Via River to realize the full potential of the St. Paul River Basin. The president further stated that there are at least eight projects underway to restore or expand electricity capacity throughout the country.
“Work is commencing this month on the Cross Border West African Power Pool (WAPP) Project. When completed, the project will supply power to the 18 Liberian towns in Maryland, Grand Gedeh, and Nimba Counties,” she said.
She said when additional generation comes onstream this April, thousands more citizens and businesses in the greater Monrovia area will have access to electricity. She, however, cautioned that thereal solution to the nation’s power problems would be the restoration of the Mount Coffee hydro.
“But we recognize that the real solution to our power problem is the reconstruction and the expansion of our hydro facility,” she said. In addition to electricity, president Sirleaf also stated that much progress was being made in the distribution of pipe born water throughout the city and other major counties.
“By May this year, over 700,000 residents of Monrovia will receive 24-hour pipe-borne water. We've completed 92% of the distribution network in the capital."
"By the beginning of April, we will start rehabilitation of water and sanitation facilities in Sanniquellie, Robertsport and Voinjama. We will also expand water and sanitation facilities in Buchanan, Kakata and Zwedru,” she said.
In the area of low to middle income housing, President Sirleaf said “we will continue to expand the services of the National Housing Authority to provide affordable housing for our people.
As a model, the NHA, in collaboration with the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), is commencing construction, on a pilot basis, of a 58-unit low-income housing estate project in Brewerville.
“We can all be proud that we've given full property rights to 1,289 families in the Stephen Tolbert, E. Jonathan Goodridge, and New Georgia housing estates, thereby relieving those families of the burden of rent they've had to pay for over 30 years. This process will continue until all eligible families obtain deeds to their properties.
Mass transport is a major issue, especially in Monrovia. We have instituted a vibrant public bus transport system, with established routes, affordable fares and regular schedules.
"Last year, we received 25 new buses from the government of India and we also purchased an additional eight buses. We granted students a three-month reprieve from bus fares as long as they were dressed in their uniforms. Bus service has been extended to Gbarnga and to Buchanan.
Citizens wept with joy when the first bus rolled in. The people at Bo Waterside will soon experience similar joy. As the road network progresses, public transport service will extend to all parts of the country. We are not just transforming domestic travel. Two decades ago, the last Pan Am flight flew direct out of RIA, then an international hub which used to bring money and jobs to Liberians.
"A year ago, I stood in this Chamber and promised that in 2010 we would see the resumption of direct services between the United States and Liberia. We kept that promise, and I am delighted to announce that Delta Airlines, barely five months after restarting direct flights last September, will add a second flight effective February 2. Other airlines have expressed interest in commencing services to Monrovia this year.
"But we won’t stop there. We will start the process to develop RIA to international standards within the next two years.”