A senior official of the West African regional bloc, Morlaye Bangoura, on Thursday called on the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) to fast-track the first phase of the region’s electricity market, News Ghana reports.

The phase one of the regional electricity market, which is aimed at addressing the twin problem of energy access and energy security in the region, was set for launch at the end of 2016 but has been shifted to the last quarter of this year. Bangoura, who is the regional bloc’s Commissioner for Energy and Mines, said the failure of the Accra-based ERERA, the regulator of regional cross-border trade of electricity, to launch the project would make it difficult for it to implement initiatives for the next stage of its core mandate.

Bangoura called on ERERA’s council members to work hard to secure investments into the sector. He was speaking after welcoming Hilaru Dikko, an Economist from Nigeria’s Electricity Regulatory Commission, and Aly Mar Ndiaye, an engineer from Senegal’s Electricity Regulatory Commission, two new members to the regulatory council. Both Ndiaye and Dikko pledged to work hard to ensure the implementation of the regional electricity market to bring relief to the citizens who have been enduring the perennial electricity crisis in the region.