28.10.2004 Regional News

Forum participants suggest setting up of Water Fund

28.10.2004 LISTEN

Kumasi, Oct 28, GNA - Participants at a day's forum on water privatisation in Ghana have suggested to the Government to consider setting up a Water Fund in support of major rehabilitation and expansion of the country's water systems.

This fund, they said, could be established along the same lines as that of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), contending that, it would go a long way to significantly improve the efficiency of the country's water sector.

The forum held at the conference hall of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) in Kumasi on Thursday was organised by the National Coalition Against Water Privatisation.

It was attended by various civil society organisations.

They noted that when adequately resourced the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) could perform and live up to public expectation. Mr Mohammed Bingle of the Coalition who was one of the resource persons, called for depoliticisation of the public debate on the Private Sector Participation (PSP).

He rejected claims that the PSP would not push the price of water beyond the reach of the poor, saying, "Water for profit can never be affordable".

He said it was therefore important for civil society to join hands and speak with one voice to force the World Bank and the Ghana Government to abandon the idea.

Mr Abubakari Adams-Sandu, Ashanti Regional Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), stated that although there were management inefficiencies at the GWCL, the solution was not privatisation. He said what should be done was to make sure that the company was well resourced so that "we can demand performance from them".