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25.04.2004 General News

Govt procures loan for provision of potable water

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Ho, April 25, GNA - Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Minister of Works and Housing, on Saturday said government had procured a concessionary loan of 135 million dollars towards the implementation of the Private Sector Participation (PSP) in the provision of potable water in urban areas. He said 103 million dollars out of the amount would be allocated for the expansion of civil and physical works, rehabilitation and renewal of sector infrastructure and water networks in the country.

Alhaji Idris, who was speaking at a media encounter in Ho, said work on the first phase of the project to be implemented in seven regions, would take-off this year, at a cost of 25 million dollars.

The Minister mentioned the beneficiary regions as, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Western, Volta, Northern and Upper East with a total of 50 communities, suburbs and metropolis, benefiting from the first phase.

Alhaji Idris said the rest of the country would come on board in subsequent phases spanning five years.

He said the project would not result automatically in tariff increases since it would continue to be determined independently by the Public Utility and Regulatory Commission (PURC).

The Minister said: "In real terms, it is expected that relative increases in tariffs will be lower under the PSP because of the efficiency gains".

Alhaji Idris said the significant benefit of PSP would be a strong leverage for instituting the right pricing policies and "hopefully an improved management regime to make the sector more efficient". Mr S. G. O Lamptey, Acting Managing Director of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), said PSP might be the panacea to urban water sector woes since additional water supply would be extended to benefit about 760,000 people.

He said the restructuring exercise would stabilise and improve supply to about 580,000 others and finally bring about a net revenue inflow of about 4.5 million dollars annually.

He said Government through the GWCL would continue to own the Company's assets and ensure that they were used optimally and maintained properly. Mr Lamptey said the Private Operator would manage the operations and maintenance aspects of GWCL for an initial contract period of five years with the primary aim of improving performance indicators including reducing the high level of non-revenue water from the current 50 per cent to 30 percent and changing corporate values and work culture.

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