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01.08.2005 General News

$756m needed for safe water and good sanitation

GNA

Akosombo (E/R), August 1 GNA - Ghana needs to invest 756 million dollars to achieve 85 per cent national coverage of water and sanitation delivery by 2015.

The 438 million dollars would be needed for water systems and 248 million dollars would be needed to build latrines and other related investments.

Mr Kofi Asamoah, Chief Executive, Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), told participants at a working retreat at Akosombo. More than 50 members of Parliamentary Committee on Works and Housing; CWSA and water experts are attending the three-day forum organised to discuss challenges in water sector.

Mr Asamoah asked the Government to spend more on the water and sanitation area to lessen the burden of donors.

He appealed to MPs to impress on Government to streamline budgetary support to all agencies in water delivery. He said this would prevent unnecessary competition, duplication and waste of resources.

"If Government is able to step-up its current average contribution from five per cent to 30 per cent and streamline resource allocation, we shall get somewhere".

He called for the establishment of a "water Fund" to generate and provide all year round funding for the water and sanitation sector. Mr Asamoah asked that the two and half per cent of urban water billing should be given to CWSA as stipulated by law. "The last time we met, Ghana Water Company said they would remit us 500 million cedis monthly but we are pressing for the two and half per cent due us."

Mr Kwabena Sarpong Manu, a water system consultant, said the Government should consider using a bigger chunk of the HIPC Fund to improve water delivery and sanitation in the country. He said currently Government spent just 2.4 per cent of its total allocation for poverty reduction on water and sanitation. Mr Manu said: "You can't achieve any of the goals of poverty reduction if you don't tackle water and sanitation. These two areas form the basis of good life."

He called for private sector participation in community water and sanitation delivery to improve its efficiency and accessibility "If for nothing at all, private sector should be encouraged to absorbed the large pool of Ghana Water Company staff yet to be retrenched."

He said: "They should be available to help (to) manage small town water system, we should not waste their brains and experience." Mr Manu called for "water bonds" which would be floated like the ordinary bonds and shares to raise money for the sector. "If the offer is good, people would buy into the idea. There should be money in the hands of some individuals searching for something to invest in," he said. 1 Aug 05

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