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04.10.2004 General News

The vociferous protesters have cheaper access to water - PURC

By GNA

Accra, Oct. 4, GNA - Mr Stephen N. Adu, Commissioner of Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), on Sunday said it was unfortunate that the vociferous protestors against private sector participation in water delivery system were those who have cheaper access to water. He said the protestors did not acknowledge the fact that about 60 per cent of Ghanaians who were deprived of water paid more for it, and those who had access to commodity paid less, which shouldn't had been the case.

In an interview with the GNA in Accra at the weekend Mr Adu said: "We should attain the level where we have to appreciate the need to making sure that those who have been deprived from enjoying portable water for all their lives, get access to it". He said pipelines, some of which were laid in 1922, needed replacement and that the Ghana Water Company Limited had very good engineers that could assist the company in preventing about 50 per cent of water produced from becoming a waste.

Mr Adu said the water production system should be efficient to avoid loading the consumer with a higher cost due to inefficient method of production. He announced that the PURC had developed a method to ensure that water affordability and accessibility were not compromised in the event of private sector participation in the delivery system. Mr Adu said: "We are aware that 60 per cent of Ghanaians do not have access to portable water and of the 40 per cent that do, most are poor".

He said PURC really understood why the public was jittery about private sector involvement in water delivery because of the profit motive of private businessman and explained that it was important for the public to know that water privatisation did not necessarily mean higher tariffs. Mr Adu said it was the responsibility of PURC to ensure that the cost involved in inefficiencies in the operations of water delivery were not transferred to the poor consumer, and that whatever tariffs came up, would reflect in the quality of service provided.

However said depending on the level of investment to obtain efficiency and expansion of the service, there would be some automatic adjustments in the tariff determination but not to a level that would deprive the poor from enjoying portable water. Mr Adu said constant monitoring and supervision mechanisms would be put in place to ensure efficiency and quality service in water delivery. He also said PURC would ensure that the internal factors that were likely to affect the tariff on water were well coordinated to avoid arbitrary hikes.

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