The Ghana Integrity Initiative,(GII) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a 12-member steering committee
to kick-start a three-year project aimed at ensuring greater transparency, accountability and integrity in water service delivery.
The project dubbed: Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Africa (TISDA), would assess the impact of corruption in the country's water sector in line with GII's mandate to achieve a corruption-free society.
Mr Vitus Azeem, Executive Secretary, GII, deplored lack of access to safe water and basic sanitation in Africa, saying this posed a major challenge in the continent.
He said in sub-Saharan Africa for instance, 44 per cent of the population lacked access to potable water,
66 per cent are without access to basic sanitation and 80 per cent of health problems were linked to these factors.
Mr. Azeem said the committee would therefore serve as a technical body to collate the expertise of key stakeholders for the effective implementation of the project to attain its objectives.
He stressed that poor governance in the water sector was a bane to effective water service delivery and expressed the hope that the project would help improve transparency in the sector.
Ms Evelyn Nuvor, Project Coordinator, TISDA, said 32 per cent of the Ghanaian population did not have access to safe water, adding that, only 40 per cent of even the urban population had access to safe water.
She explained that the project would therefore complement poverty reduction efforts by other development partners to assess the institutional performance of the water service sector.
Ms Nuvor said the project would therefore encourage public authorities to take implement reforms that would increase the knowledge of civil society, media and other partners on transparency issues in the sector.
“Water is vital to life and a fundamental human right. Improved access to potable water and basic sanitation are central to achieving sustainable human development, economic growth and poverty reduction.”
Nii Okai Kotei, Chairman of the Steering Committee, identified the use of advocacy as key to the improvement of transparency in water service delivery.
He expressed optimism that the project would enable the country to meet the Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation.
The committee comprised representatives from the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing; Ghana Water Company; Aqua Vitens Rand; Community Water and Sanitation Agency; Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission and Water Aid.
The rest are Ghana Statistical Service; the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation and the Trend Group.