Ho, July 28, GNA - Mr Robert Van-Ess, the Acting Chief Executive of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) has said the agency's dwindling financial position was a drawback in achieving set targets. He said it registered a shortfall of 5.6 billion cedis being administrative budget for this year.
Mr Van-Ess was addressing the opening ceremony of a three-day National Mid-Year Review Conference of CWSA under the theme, "Effective Utilisation Of The Decentralised Structures For Accelerated Safe Drinking Water And Improved Sanitation Delivery". He said delays in quarterly releases compelled the agency to resort to external borrowing.
Mr Van-Ess appealed to the Ministry of Works and Housing to resolve this perennial problem, especially in the coming months when "we expect our field activities to increase substantially". In spite of these constraints, Mr Van-Ess said, about 1,000 new boreholes were drilled across the country and 200 were rehabilitated. The agency constructed 700 household VIP latrines, 120 KVIP latrines and 50 institutional latrines, all in the first half of the year.
Building of facilities under the second phase of the DANIDA programme that covers Volta, Greater Accra, Eastern and Central regions would begin soon.
Mr Van-Ess said the bottlenecks that delayed the construction of facilities under the AFD and EU projects in the Northern Region have been addressed.
Work would start soon, while work on the second phase of the IDA project has been negotiated and work would begin in October this year. He said CWSA has engaged contractors and consultants to drill boreholes in guinea worm endemic communities in the Northern, Brong Ahafo, Volta, Eastern, Upper East and Upper West regions. Under the 2004 HIPC programme, drilling contracts have been signed for work to begin in the Upper West, Upper East and Eastern regions after the rains.
Mr Van-Ess said the first batch of 330 pumps had arrived for distribution, while arrangement for the next batch of 180 pumps is being concluded for delivery in August.
Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, the Volta Regional Minister said the country was desirous of increasing safe water coverage to 85 per cent by 2015 and appealed to stakeholders to strategise towards achieving the target. He called for dialogue between Works and Housing and Local Government and Rural Development ministries towards eliminating all bottlenecks that hinder the effective utilisation of the decentralised structures. Mr Owusu-Yeboa commended all development partners in the water sector for their unflinching support without which "we would not have registered the modest achievements....".