The Ministry of Energy and water Resources now has a new Minister, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker. Prior to his appointment in this capacity, Mr. Robbin-Coker worked as the Private Sector Adviser to President Ernest Bai Koroma. He also worked for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank Group, heading the Sierra Leone Business Forum (SLBF) component as Executive Director. The SLBF was borne out of efforts aimed at promoting public-private dialogue forum focused on enhancing Sierra Leone’s investment climate and business environment.
Added to the long list of institutions he has served both in and out of Sierra Leone, Mr. Robbin-Coker has a solid private and public sector experience working alongside very senior decisions makers.
Serving the new Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Oluniyi is aware of the challenges that lie ahead, because in a country of almost six million people, only 6% have access to grid distributed electricity. He has outlined key priorities in trying to make the electricity and water situation in the country much better. He said he will support the various parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources by working with both the management and the boards in a very collaborative manner in achieving their goals and objectives. This will include tackling specific activities in the power sector starting with the completion of the projects which are already in place; the electrification of Makeni, Lungi and Kono urgently and the maintenance work for the Western Area especially the distribution network he added.
On the issues of Water Supply, Mr. Robbin-Coker notes that there are projects that are equally important and need to be completed.
The Minister affirmed that he is, therefore taking a hard look at what is required to increase Guma Valley’s, restoring and then expanding the distribution network of water in Freetown and the peninsula communities. He said more emphasis will be put on individuals, households and commercial users to begin to harvest needed water particularly during the rains as he put it “If each household or commercial entity were to spend a little investment in water harvesting, it will have a significant impact on Guma Valley’s ability to distribute water during the dries”.
In achieving the above listed priorities, obstacles and challenges will constantly show up along the way but Mr. Robbin-Coker notes that “none of these obstacles and challenges are insurmountable; it’s a matter of will and resources coupled with a good collaborative team effort success is guaranteed” . There are plans according to Minister Robbin-Coker to unbundle the power sector and its asset as well as divide the value chain of generation, distribution and transmission as this will positively impact the collection.