“We will not allow that the electricity file to be exploited and this issue is not for political gains and overbidding,” Gemayel said at a press conference, urging a solution to the power generation crisis.
He reminded the attendees that that Phalange Party had “exposed this file and its suspicious deals during the parliament’s debriefing of the government.”
“We have a problem with the principle of renting ships,” Gemayel said, noting that “the government wants to rent ships for three years for a cost of $1.8 billion while they can be purchased for a cheaper price.”
“In the public tender that was held today, it turned out that the firm which I had mentioned in the past is the firm that won on the basis that it conforms to the specifications,” Gemayel added.
“You brought two ships in 2010 and today we are in 2017 and you want to bring new ships after having promised us 24/24 power supply,” he went on to say.
His comments come after Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil stressed on Monday the “legality” of the power-generating vessel competitive tenders.
Abi Khalil who spoke at the beginning of the tender opening said: “The tender is perfectly legal and is carried out in accordance with a book of conditions prepared by the government of (former) PM Najib Miqati.”
A total of eight interested companies have participated in the bidding process, in addition to the committee that opened the tenders and was composed of the Ministry of Energy, Electricity of Lebanon (EDL), representatives of the Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, Environment and Finance.
In March the government approved Abi Khalil’s power plan which was based on a previous idea presented by his predecessor Minister Gebran Bassil in 2010 when he was energy minister.
His new plan calls for leasing three power generating Turkish vessels, instead of two already present in Lebanon, to supply the country with needed power before the summer season begins.
When Minister Bassil was energy minister, Lebanon leased two Turkish power generating vessels to make up for the the Electricite du Liban’s deficit, but power blackouts continue .
Privatizing the sector
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea proposed last arch that the electricity sector should be privatized . he also proposed that private companies should build and operate power plants in a partnership with the state in the electricity sector, describing it as a necessary reform that should be included in the state budget.
According to Geagea, such a step would provide a 24/24 power supply across the country and would spare the treasury around $2 billion in yearly subsidies.
But all the minsters that represent president Aoun in the cabinet opposed Geagea’s proposal Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh of the Progressive Socialist Party voiced support for the LF’s proposal .
According to energy observers privatization is the only way to solve Lebanon’s electricity problems. Abi Khalil’s plan that calls for leasing more Turkish power generating vessels means more subsidies and more dependence on Turkey and will never solve Lebanon’s problems according the observers. The observers pointed out that the private sector has been the only reliable source for electricity for Lebanon for decades
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