NATION

36 Years Wait Over, Waibalavu Connected to National Electricity Grid

In the past five years, the Government has invested $224 million towards the energy sector in which 70 cents of every dollar spent in the sector goes directly to rural electrification.
02 Nov 2019 14:36
36 Years Wait Over, Waibalavu Connected to  National Electricity Grid
Turaga-na-Vunivalu Ratu Josefa Vuniamatana (left) and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama switch on Waibalavu Village in Naitasiri, on November 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

After spending 36 years watching electricity lines running over their village, the people of Waibalavu in Naitasiri are now connected to the national electricity grid.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama officially commissioned the $338,000 electrification project yesterday.

The 55 households of the village are no longer in the dark.

The power cables ran from the Monasavu Dam past the village of the people of Waibalavu

Mr Bainimarama told Waibalavu villagers that the days of watching the cables run past the village were over.

He said Waibalavu villagers deserved the right to participate in economic prosperity and growth which most Fijians were enjoying.

“Today, you have become more than spectators, you are in the game as the latest participants of our national development,” he said.

“My Government not only recognises electricity as a fundamental right, we see it not as a cost but as a larger investment in our economy.

“One that will be fully covered in full through the newly released potential of the 250 Fijians who now have a connection to our national grid.”

 It was a moment of joy for Waibalavu villagers of Naitasiri as Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama commissioned the rural electrification project in the village on November 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

It was a moment of joy for Waibalavu villagers of Naitasiri as Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama commissioned the rural electrification project in the village on November 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

In the past five years, the Government has invested $224 million towards the energy sector in which 70 cents of every dollar spent in the sector goes directly to rural electrification.

To date, 25,000 Fijians have benefitted from rural electrification projects.

And 1,400 households will be included into the national grid as a further $12.5m has been set aside by the Government.

Mr Bainimarama said prior to 2016, communities had to provide the 10 per cent costing in rural electrification projects, however, the Government was now bearing the full cost.

Mr Bainimarama also announced that in the weeks to come, the Walesi team would visit Waibalavu and all those earning below $30,000 per annum would be eligible for a free sat-box.

“Electricity alone will not change anything. It needs your participation and your ambition to make our investment in your community really shine,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Use this opportunity to create a better future for your families and your community.”

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj


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