The government is pursuing the transfer of some National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) properties now being maintained by the Kwakwani Utility Incorporated (KUI).
KUI falls under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s (MPI) Hinterland Electricity Company Incorporated (HECI) which is a subsidiary of NICIL. It is responsible for electricity distribution, as well as water and sewage disposal in Kwakwani.
According to a DPI release, on a visit to Kwakwani, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson met with KUI’s General Manager, Fitzhubert McPherson and board members to discuss issues affecting the company and to share his 2019 plans for the community.
Challenges with fuel acquisition, the poor performance of newly installed generator sets and the need for restructuring of the board were among issues discussed.
Further, McPherson also bemoaned the problems encountered with NICIL properties, noting that KUI employees are looking after NICIL properties but the company is getting no returns.
He recommended that instead of leaving the properties to deteriorate they could be rented to earn some income.
Minister Patterson assured the board members that that issue will be addressed immediately: “Kwakwani Utility Incorporated used to be under NICIL and it no longer is and now it is under MPI but we omitted to vest some key assets in the transfer and it’s causing them (board) some issues. So we are looking into that as we speak.”
The long-term plan for the community is the construction of a solar farm similar to that in Mabaruma. Minister Patterson told the board members that the government is in the final processes for a loan for the solar farm. He tasked the board with identifying a plot of land for the initiative.
“We need land, we don’t want to buy land, and we’re looking for state land or land under KUI or NICIL just to put the solar panels. They are normally on a pole elevated so it can be swampland. Once we do it in the dry season there will be very little maintenance so the water wouldn’t affect it. Whenever we have to do maintenance the panels are high in the air,” Patterson stated.