The Management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) has revealed that the entity is experiencing an annual loss of US$35 million as a result of power theft. Speaking in Monrovia at the Center for Exchange of Intellectual Opinions (CEIO), Minister Tweah lamented that power thief is a common practice in Liberia that is actually undermining the country’s economy on grounds that the Government is expected to generate revenue through the services rendered to its customers which, according to him, is not the case. He alleged that power theft is among LEC workers, making it difficult to address the menace that has negatively impacted the Liberian economy.
The MFDP head emphasized that there are communities in Liberia that depend solely on illegal connections without paying a cent to the government, citing that such action, among others, are all contributing factors that are undermining the revenue generation arm of the national government. Minister Tweah pointed out that based on the aforementioned accounts; the Government of Liberia through the Senate in its sitting in August 2019 passed the "Power Theft Bill” as a non-billable crime. The MFDP top official cited that the bill seeks to criminalize power theft so that perpetrators will bear the full weight of the law in order to reduce illegal connections and subsequently eradicate the ill from the Liberian society.
Minister Tweah encouraged the public, consumers as well as service providers to avoid illegal transactions which will allow the National Government to generate more revenue for the country. However, Tweah noted that it is true that LEC is faced with numerous challenges in relation to illegal connections, thus affecting the efficiency and effectiveness of the entity, adding that “the sole problem surrounding this LEC is a legacy problem." Minister Tweh further indicated that citizens should begin to erase the notion that the government will distribute free power. “We will never have free power. We will have free education or free tuition but when you use your electricity, you must pay for it,” Tweah noted.
Minister Tweh asserted that the government in collaboration with LEC is making frantic efforts to put an end to power theft in Liberia. Meanwhile, the Liberia Finance Minister also called on direct beneficiaries of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) to begin to pay their water bills, noting that the government decided to subsidize the water issue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Minister Tweah disclosed that the LWSC was subsidized by the Government of Liberia for five months which allows people to use the service without paying a dime to the entity, something that is worth public commendation for the government.
He mentioned that while the LWSC is putting mechanism in place to connect every nook and cranny of the society in terms of providing water and sanitation, it is incumbent upon those who are financially obligated to the entity to pay their bills so as to enable national government address the challenges at the entity which will boost revenue generation.