Koforidua, Dec. 12, GNA - The government has spent over a trillion cedis from internal resources and about half- a- billion dollars from donor partners towards water delivery in the country, the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, disclosed at Koforidua on Monday. He was inaugurating a 1. 8 billion-cedi new Regional Offices for the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) constructed with the support of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
Mr. Owusu-Agyeman emphasized that the government had never decided to privatise water supply in the country that was why it recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with two foreign companies for the management of the Ghana Water Company. He said the agreement included a performance contract, which would be monitored for full compliance of the provisions by both sides.
Mr Owusu-Agyemang who is also the Member of Parliament for New Juaben North, stressed the determination of the government towards finding lasting solution to the country's water supply system, saying this had led it to sign agreements on the protection and management of the Volta River Basin with both the Baukina Faso and five other West African countries this year. He said it was the government's policy to ensure equity and sustainable water delivery to all parts of the country and for now and posterity and asked the staff of the sector to maintain logistics and premises for lasting usage.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Ambassador of the Royal Danish Embassy in Ghana, Mr Flemming Bjork Pedersen, noted that the ceremony marked another manifestation of DANIDA's commitment to assist Ghana in the water and sanitation sector for the rural communities and small towns in support of the government's decentralization efforts. He said besides the support in capital investment, there was also a strong element in the co-operation on building the capacity in key ministries and local administrations that have the responsibility of providing water and sanitation facilities to the people.
Mr Pedersen said the Koforidua office building project was part of DANIDA's support to capacity building during the Phase One project between 1997 -2003 which also saw the completion of the CWSA head office and the Greater Accra Regional in Accra and the financing of renovation works of the Cape Coast Regional Office. He expressed the hope that the "beautiful and serene environment" would motivate the staff and galvanise them to work even harder than before which saw them increasing the coverage of potable water to rural communities from 27 per cent to 52 per cent to date.
The acting Chief Executive of the CWSA, Mr R.K.D. Van-Ess, who described DANIDA as the leading supporter of the Agency, announced that since it became autonomous ten years ago, DANIDA had offered it financial support amounting to 760 billion cedis in grants for its projects in the Greater Accra, Eastern, Central and Volta Regions. He appealed for support from the Sector Ministry towards the completion of the sharing of assets of the former Ghana Water and Sanitation Corporation between the Ghana Water Company Limited and the CWSA, initiated three years ago. According to him, the exercise had so far covered only five regions and hopped it could be completed by March 2006, since the issue about the Private Sector Participation (PSP) programme for urban water had been settled, saying this would help solve the accommodation problem facing the staff of the Agency in the regions.
The Eastern Regional Director of the Agency, Mr Philip Amanor, outlined the activities of the Agency with the support of DANIDA and other donors in the provision of rural water and sanitation through boreholes and hand-dug wells and institutional latrines in all the 17 districts in the region. The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, had, in a welcoming address assured the collaboration of the Regional Co-ordinating Council with the Agency in the discharge of its functions and asked District Assemblies to take the challenge of the decentralized delivery of water and sanitation services. The function, presided over by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the CWSA, Mrs Cecilia Mawusi Amoah, also marked the unveiling of the Agency's 10th anniversary cloth.