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17.11.2005 Business & Finance

Two Firms To Run Ghana Water

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The Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing has contracted two companies, Vitens International of the Netherlands and the Rands Water Services Pty of South Africa, to mange Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) under a five-year management contract.

The Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Hackman Owusu Agyemang, said at the weekly meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday that the government changed its mind to completely privatize the company because it listened to the voice and concerns of the people.

He explained that under the management contract, assets of the company would not be sold and would continue to be owned by the GWCL.

Again, the people of Ghana, through the Water Resources Commission, would continue to own water resources such as rivers and dams, while the government would set the overall policy framework.

Mr Owusu-Agyeman said the major problem which had haunted the GWCL for years was managerial and it was for this the GWCL entered into a management contract as part of its Urban Water Project.

He said the total cost of the management contract of 10.950 million Euros inclusive of taxes was a grant from the World Bank.

He said under the exercise, 1,524 workers had been retrenched and paid their severance award and additional 600 workers would be laid off after they had been trained to be on their own.

He stated that an amount of $10 million, which was also a grant from the World Bank, was allotted for the retrenchment exercise.

The Minister said the government's commitment towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) of 78 per cent of water coverage by 2015 and Ghana Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy objective of 87 per cent remained unchanged.

He talked about the various strategies being used to achieve that objective, adding that by the end of next year, an amount of $450 million would be spent to improve on urban water.

Under rural water, Mr Owusu-Agymang said the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) had completed several programmes designed to provide potable water supply for several rural communities.

He said the CWSA, with the help of the country's development partners, constructed 3,300 boreholes from 1994 to 2000 and additional 5,157 boreholes from 2001 to 2005, all of which were fitted with hand pumps. Additional 854 hand dug wells were provided by CWSA from 2001 to 2005.

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