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20.04.2004 Regional News

Provision of social amenities essential for poverty reduction

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Elmina (C/R), April. 20, GNA - Mr Isaac Edumadze, the Central Regional Minister on Tuesday asserted that, the provision of potable water and other social and economic amenities to the communities would reduce poverty among the people.

He explained that the provision of potable water would not only relieve the communities of the numerous water-borne diseases, but also reduce the rate of attendance at hospitals, resulting in the increase in productivity, and the reduction of poverty.

Mr Edumadze made these remarks at Elmina during a day's workshop on the launching of the Danida assisted water and sanitation sector programme support Phase II (WSSPS II).

The workshop, which was aimed among others at giving an insight to the participants and all stakeholders on the role expected of them during the phase II of the WSSPS, was attended by municipal and district chief executives, municipal and district co-ordinating directors, planning officers, district finance officers, accounts officers, staff of the community water and sanitation agency (CWSA).

Key issues discussed at the workshop included, significance of monitoring, operation and maintenance, community sensitisation, role of CWSA, responsibility of district assembly in the implementation of the project and rehabilitation of non-functioning facilities.

Mr Edumadze said it has been the cardinal principle of the New Patriotic Party government to ensure that water was sent to the remotest corner of the country, and therefore stressed the need for municipal and district chief executives to take the programme very seriously.

He reminded the participants that, as the region alongside the Greater Accra, Volta and Eastern regions are the beneficiaries of the WSSPS II, it could not afford to lose the opportunity, and cautioned that any chief executive who faltered with the implementation will be seriously sanctioned.

The Regional Minister, on behalf of the government expressed gratitude to the Danish government for supporting it with 60 million dollars for the implementation of the second phase of the programme in the four beneficiary regions.

Mr Kevin Gallagher, project management advisor of CWSA said the programme, which is to cover a period of five years is demand-driven with communities asking for it through their municipal and district assemblies for the CWSA in collaboration with the regional administration to take action.

He said the project was designed to complement government's effort at making potable water accessible to all communities and therefore, urged all stakeholders to play their roles effectively to make the programme a success.

Mr John K. Afonu, Regional Director of CWSA in a welcoming address, said coverage in terms of potable water supply to rural communities and small towns in the region is estimated between 30 and 40 percent, and there is therefore, the need for the big gap left to be filled. It is for this reason that, "we, as active stakeholders in the sector need to collaborate to make this DANIDA intervention a success", he stressed.

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