Ellen: ‘Big Light Almost At Hand’

first_imgNothing could have brought more joy to the face of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday on her tour of major national development projects than the news that the Mt. Coffee Hydropower is at the completion stage of seventy percent.The president was also informed that the Mount Coffee Hydropower is a nationally cherished asset and has the potential to quadruple the current estimated output upon completion in 2017 if some necessary interventions are made. The President even wore broader smiles when the Director of the project, Bill Hakin, while making a presentation about the status of the project, maintained that December 16, 2016 still stands as the official date that the hydro will come online or actual electricity will be produced from that much anticipated project. After completing a tour of the project yesterday, President Sirleaf said, “The level of progress here is absolutely pleasing because we were here last December and something was going on but you can really see now when we say big light tomorrow is almost at hand.”The project, upon completion, will add considerable value to Liberia’s national welfare and will serve as Liberia’s backbone to supply electricity to citizens and contribute to the restoration of economic growth to pre-war levels.“We are very pleased with the level of work that is ongoing here and we want to thank all those who come from the four contracting companies from all over the world that brought their engineers and technical staff to assist us in this regard,” she said.The Mt. Coffee Hydropower Rehabilitation Project is being implemented in four phases, and according to MD Hakin Phase 1 – Project Planning and Investigations; and Phase 2 – Detailed Design, Preparation of Tender Documents, Prequalification, Bidding, and Award of Contract; have been completed while Phase 3 – Construction, Commissioning and Taking Over are at a very advanced level. Phase 4 – Defects Liability Period, will be done subsequently.He advised the President to address issues of environmental and social impacts and establish guidelines to put in place by LEC and the project contractors during the current construction and its future operations.The implementation of the project is assigned to the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) and is being implemented by the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) within the LEC, acting on behalf of its Board of Directors. LEC is currently administered by Manitoba Hydro International Ltd. (MHI) under a Management Contract (MC). This MC was originally scheduled to run for five years from July 1, 2010 until June 30, 2015, and is funded by the Government of Norway.In January 2013 an Amendment to the Management Contract was signed between government and Norway, which allows for the financing of the PIU and the implementation of the Mt. Coffee Project. Liberia is one of seven main partner countries under the Norwegian Clean Energy Initiative. MC comes to an end in 2017 and about 400 young Liberians are undergoing training in Zambia to take over the project when the PIU ends in 2017—a piece of news that was very pleasing to the President.The MCHPP Rehabilitation Project began in May 2012 with the establishment and development of the PIU at LEC. Construction began at the site in January 2014 but there was a break as a result of the Ebola outbreak, he said.Mr. Hakin said when completed, the plant will provide sustainable and cost-efficient supply of electrical energy, and will replace operations of emergency diesel engines and private aggregates that are presently used throughout the country.The economic costs of the project include the economic capital costs, operation and maintenance inputs, and the economic price of land (e.g. foregone agricultural output). The economic benefits are far greater than the costs, and include the gross electricity economic benefits, avoided fuel costs, avoided greenhouse gas emissions, and many other direct and indirect economic and social benefits.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Steve Smith criticises Cricket Australia over pay dispute

first_imgAustralia captain Steve Smith has criticised the arguments of Cricket Australia (CA) in the ongoing pay dispute between the players and the board on the eve of their first match in the Champions Trophy.The CA has argued that it cannot increase the players’ current salaries as more money is needed to fund the game at the grassroots.Smith however, challenged the CA’s statement, asserting that the players have chipped in with significant contributions to the grassroots programmes.”I’m not sure I completely agree with that. If we look back at the last MoU I think players gave back $10 million to grassroots cricket, which is quite significant,” Smith told the media here on Thursday.”We’re right behind (the CA) and what they are trying to do for the players and as partners of the game as well. We fully support them in everything they are doing,” he added.Australia had a poor start to their campaign in the last edition of the Champions Trophy in 2013 when they had lost to England in their first match before crashing out in the group stages.Smith is keen to avoid a repeat this time round and reiterated the importance of focusing on the job at hand and not giving too much thought to the off-field issues.”We are focusing on this tournament. These are the big tournaments and the ones you really want to win,” he said.”So my focus is on that and I’ll let the CA handle everything else.”Every game is crucial and we have got to be at our best from ball one,” he added.advertisementSmith also hinted at pace being his primary weapon in Australia’s opening match against New Zealand which comes as no surprise considering the quality of resources at his disposal.Although Smith stated that the playing XI would not be settled until the final training session, there is a chance that the four pronged pace battery of Australia comprising Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Josh Hazlewood could be seen in action together for the first time.The only selection dilemma in an otherwise settled batting line up is who amongst Glenn Maxwell and Chris Lynn will get the nod to fulfil the finisher’s role.”If it is good batting and the sun is out hopefully we can put a bit of pressure on those guys and try and play the way we did in Australia,” Smith said.Although Australia have won nine out of their last 10 encounters against their trans Tasmanian rivals, Smith feels that it will be naive to take the Black Caps lightly considering the resurgence in the fortunes of the team in the past three to four years.The Australian players will be playing One-Day Internationals (ODI) after a significant gap, having played four Test matches in India before taking part in the Indian Premier League (IPL).Smith asserted that his teammates will have to adjust fast to the demands of the 50-over version of the game as well as to the conditions in England as they try to win the Champions Trophy for a record third time.”It takes a little bit of time. You just have to realise 50 overs are a lot more than 20 and you can reign things back,” he said of the adjustment to ODI cricket.”It has taken a few guys a little bit of time just to bring their games back down a level and not try and overhit the ball, particularly here in England where the outfield is so fast.”last_img read more