‘Gom Sa Bopa’ says high electricity tariff increases Poverty

Concerned with the plight of poor citizens especially low-income earners, the ‘ Gom Sa Bopa’  activists this afternoon protested against the electricity tariff
increment at Westfield. According to a petition signed by their president Killa Ace Cham, the activists are demanding that the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) bring back cheaper tariffs.
“Access to affordable water and electricity is a basic fundamental human right which any serious
government must provide its people. The recent Tariff increases by The Gambia’s only National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) for water by 20% and electricity by 37% are extortionately high.
It is our strong belief that the increase does not commensurate with the increases in NAWEC’s
operating costs and its sub-contractors providing these basic services to the Gambian people. The
increase also does not consider the huge amount of subventions which NAWEC benefits from
taxpayers’ monies to pay their loans and many other expenses.”
The statement further indicated that the  movement which is led by Team Gom Sa Bopa and other concerned Gambians has decided to
come together to take a stand against the recent NAWEC Tariff increase because they  are convinced
that the increase does not consider the current earnings of low to medium-income workers in the
country.
“If this extortionate Tariff continues many Gambians will not be able to pay for water and electricity
forcing many more into poverty. The alternatives don’t look good either with some people opting for
boreholes which if many more are to adopt will have a significant impact on our water table thereby
affecting our environment and crops’ access to underground water.”
The activists said they  are aware that the PURA Act 2001 [34(2)b] mandates for your institution to engage your
customers before increasing their tariffs and calls on NAWEC to conduct consultation with the
Gambian people are mostly paying prepaid cash-power and not owing NAWEC a butut.
“As many will observe the hardship in the country has increased over the past month with many
salaries not able to last to the end of the month. Many are struggling to pay cash power and if this
continues taps will eventually go dry if NAWEC starts cutting access to water for people who delay
payment or can’t pay their increased water Bills at all.
We call on NAWEC and the Government to return to the drawing board to;
1. Ensure a stable supply of water and electricity to all customers connected to the NAWEC grid,
2. Engage the wider public on the increases as dictated by section 34(2)b of the PURA Act 2001,
3. Reverse the Tariffs for Electricity (-37%) and Water (-20%) to a more reasonable price like it
was before,
4. Respond to our demands within one month within which regular engagement
could be held.
If NAWEC heeds our demands The Gambia will return to being the sixth most expensive country to
purchase electricity in West Africa, which in our view is still very high. If NAWEC fails to heed our
demands the general public has been placed on notice to launch another protest against NAWEC
and its extortionately high tariffs.”