China donates over $8 million to Ministry of Communications and Ogero

Ogero Center in the Badaro district of Beirut, photo PHB

Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications and the government agency Ogero, which operates fixed-line telephone and internet services, have received an $8 million donation from China to provide solar energy to more than 380 of the operator’s facilities, the ministry said in a press release on Tuesday evening.

The government also approved an amount of TRY 1.500 billion for maintenance and development costs. This amount will be released “in the coming days to (…) ensure continuity of service (from Ogero),” according to a press release from the Lebanese ministry. The latter added that a ceremony would be organized to “launch a donation campaign aimed at securing the necessary loans for the installation, provided that the project is completed and enters the operational phase (…) in the summer of 2024.”

The Ministry of Communications also indicates that the government has reserved “a certain amount” of Iraqi fuel provided to Electricité du Liban (EDL) as part of a barter agreement for the state telecommunications provider. This quantity will “suffice until the end of 2024… with the hope that receipt (of Iraqi fuel) will begin in November next year.”

In recent months, Augero has experienced numerous phone and internet outages due to insufficient power supplies. “The ministry, Augero and the rest of the telecommunications sector have faced many serious challenges since the onset of the financial and economic crisis that hit the country,” the statement said.

In 2022, Ogero director Imad Kreidiye reported that the company operated backup generators with a total capacity of 23 megawatts throughout the territory, stressing that they were operating at full capacity given the small number of hours of current provided by EDL. On September 6, the Ministry of Communications negotiated with the government and the Ministry of Energy to reserve one percent of Iraqi fuel for Augero. Under a barter agreement with Iraq, the latter supplies 2 tons of crude fuel per year to Lebanon, which, rocked by an economic crisis, is struggling to meet its fuel needs. This fuel is exchanged for refined fuel suitable for EDL power plants through third-party operators selected by the Ministry of Energy through tenders.

Source: L Orient Le Jour

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