VEEP urges Finance Minister to allocate more funds for water
Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday appealed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to consider prioritizing water and sanitation in the next budget.
He also advocated public-private partnership by calling on the private sector to partner government in providing adequate sanitation facilities throughout the country.
“The on-going war between the supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the seizure of public toilets demonstrates to all of us that it is a lucrative business.”
Vice President Mahama made this appeal when he launched the Ghana Compact on Sanitation and water for all, a global framework that would propel the government to adequately provide water and sanitation needs of the country.
Ghana’s signature to the compact, which is the first in the sub-Sahara Africa, and among all the developing countries, would among other issues encourage government in collaboration with private partners to commit 200 million dollars every year on the project.
The Vice President called on District Assemblies to enact and implement by-laws with thorough educational programmes to change the attitude of Ghanaians towards sanitation programmes and offer a boost to government’s “Better Ghana” Agenda.
He said a National Strategy and Action Plan on sanitation and environment had been prepared and would soon be launched to help diffuse some negative attitudes towards sanitation in the country.
Vice President Mahama asked for clarification on sanitation figures to enable government make adequate provision for its implementation since current figures were conflicting.
Mr. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, said it was disturbing to hear that over 20 percent of Ghanaians were still engaged in open defecation popularly known as ‘free range’ and promised that government would step up the provision of sanitation facilities to bring an end to the ‘unacceptable’ development.
“Our commitment to provide good sanitation and potable water is not only meant for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, but should go beyond that to rid Ghanaians anywhere of poverty, hunger and disease.”
Mr. Naa Lenason Demedeme, Director of Environmental Health and Sanitation, said poor sanitation and inadequate potable water could lower production as ill-health, poverty and hunger could hamper the progress of productive hands.
He said the government would soon launch a national sanitation programme and water forum to create awareness and seek the views of all Ghanaians on how to improve on the current trends.
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, pledged government’s commitment to providing adequate amenities and called on assemblies to live up to the expectation of achieving those goals.