Accra, Nov 15, GNA - The management of Ghana Water Company Limited (GWLC) is to sign a management contract with two foreign firms this week to pay off more than 600 of its workers who would be laid off. The 10.950 million Euro contract between GWCL and the firms from South Africa and the Netherlands inclusive of taxes is a grant from the World Bank.
Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing announced this at the weekly meet-the-press series in Accra on Tuesday.
He said a major problem that had affected the efficient and effective operations of GWCL was managerial and that was why the urban water project contract was entered into to improve the situation. Mr Owusu-Agyemang said in the implementation of the five-year contract about 600 or more workers would be laid off.
However, he said, benefits accruing to the laid-off workers had been attractively designed and given the human touch and that other workers originally not targeted were opting to join the process. "These workers will be trained and equipped to set up their own business that will offer employment opportunities to others," he added. As part of the project, 1,524 workers who went on retrenchment have been paid their severance benefits to which 10 million dollars grant was committed as loan from the World Bank for the exercise.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang said contracts for the improvement of water supply to many urban towns and communities were ongoing. These are Adenta Water Supply, Accra West-East Interconnection, Kasoa Water Supply, Sekondi-Takoradi Water Supply, Cape Coast Water Supply, Kwanyaku Water supply and the Baifikrom (Mankessim) Water Supply.
The rest are Koforidua Water Supply, Tamale Water Supply, Yendi and Damango, Wa Water Supply, Sunyani Water Supply, Berekum water supply, Winneba Water Supply and Akwapim Ridge Water Supply.
He said negotiations were far advanced to tackle the water supply systems at the Kwahu Ridge, Techiman, Kyebi and Begoro. On rural water, Mr Owusu-Agyemang said access to potable water for rural communities had increased from 46.4 per cent to 51.7 per cent and this figure would increase in the next two years.
He said the Ministry would commence the drilling of 1,000 boreholes, 3,000 household latrines and 200 institutional latrines in Ashanti Region to be jointly funded by the government, KFW of Germany and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The AfDB is funding another project for the construction of 800 boreholes and two pilot small towns pipe system for communities in the Ashanti Region and it would commence in 2006.