Ghana, EU to sign GH¢3.2m agreement for Assin Fosu Water Project

The Government of Ghana (GoG) and the European Union (EU) will soon sign a Supplementary Contract Finance Agreement for GH¢3.2 million (€1.8m) to finish up a water project began in 2007 for the people of Assin Fosu in the Assin North District of the Central Region.

This will bring the total funding for the EU Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project (EU-STWaSaP) for 40 communities in the Western and Central regions of Ghana to about €25 million (The original agreement involved €23 million from the EU).

The Supplementary Agreement has become necessary, because although the construction phase of the Financing Agreement numbered 9421/GH – 9th EDF (European Development Fund) between the GoG and EU for 20 selected communities in the Central Region ended in August 2010, the Assin Fosu Small Town Water and Sanitation Project, which is expected to provide 37,307 people with potable water, has not been completed.

Announcing this to a group of journalists in Takoradi on Wednesday September 15, 2010 at the start of a tour of EU-funded water and sanitation projects in the Western Region, Joseph de Bats, the EU Technical Assistance (TA) Team Leader, said “Assin Fosu was in 2008 taken out of the project because the project was running out of funds.”

He added that because things have become much more expensive and tenders for contracts have also become much more expensive, “in the end, together with the Ministry of Finance, Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) under the EU, it was agreed that Assin Fosu would be placed under government funding.”

Joseph de Bats explained that although they tried to finish the EU Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project in good time, there were some delays, especially at the beginning on the drilling programme and in some cases they did not find sufficient water for communities.

He stated that in most cases though, the water found was enough to put a system in place, and that Assin Fosu is the biggest town to benefit from the project.

The TA Team Leader disclosed that now the project is using balances on hand to minimise the amount the Ghana Government will have to spend to complete the Assin Fosu project, which will benefit an estimated 45,200 people by 2016.

“In fact we have already in Assin Fosu installed improved boreholes, we are installing pumps, we are installing treatment units, we have already installed two elevated tanks on towers, so for government, there will be only left the pipe work of the distribution system itself, with the standpipes, the PVCs and the house connections that will be made,” he divulged, adding, “basically half of the project has already been financed under the EU.”

The Team Leader said he believed the Assin Fosu project would be completed by mid 2011 after the supplementary budget is signed. He supplied further that the construction phase of the EU-STWaSaP has come to an end, except for the three towns – Anyinabrim and Assin Fosu in the Central Region and Dadieso in the Western Region.

Joseph de Bats announced that the project is now in what they have termed the follow-up stage, which started in September 2010 and will end in November 2011.

“It is quite unique; most projects do not have something like that, but your government together with the EU felt it was very useful to have  a follow-up phase already prepared and financed from the start under this project,” he said.

He added that an amount was set aside under the Project Assistance (PA) contract to make sure that at least some of the TA teams will continue, originally just for two years or thereabout, stating further that the development phase will end on November 30, 2011.

According to Joseph de Bats, the main essence of the follow-up phase is to ensure the systems are maintained and operated as they are designed and that the maintenance of the system is somehow secured by an after sales service arrangement.

“We hope that the communities are going to sign contracts with a service provider which is actually part of the project, part of the contract. It means that the service provider was some company that was involved in the installation of some of the main piping system – the pump,” he stressed.

The TA Team Leader however opined that it is not enough to leave the communities to do these things alone and that the service provider – CWSA,  must come up with a routine of monitoring, evaluation and feeding back to the communities, what is happening with the operating systems.

A project profile that was submitted by the Team Leader indicates that the purpose of the Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project in the Western and Central regions of Ghana is to improve access to safe water and sanitation in a sustainable manner in the small towns of those regions.

When completed, the project hopes to have been able to construct new water supply systems in the 40 beneficiary towns and have implemented environmental sanitation facilities in the beneficiary towns.

The project also hopes to promote efficient and effective management structures and systems at national, regional, district and community levels and encourage the beneficiary communities to practice good hygiene behaviour.

Financing Agreement (FA) for the project’s implementation was signed between GoG and the EU on May 10, 2006, while the Financing Decision (FD) for the project was made in December 2008.

The total FA budget amount of €23 million encompasses three work components (borehole drilling, civil works and sanitation facilities), procurements (office equipment and vehicles), institutional capacity support (regional and national), Technical Assistance (TA) services, Audits, Evaluations and Contingencies.

After recovering much of its initial delays, by July 2010, 35 project systems had been completed and handed over for operation by trained Water and Sanitation Development Boards (WSDBs) and its operating staff of the beneficiary towns. The systems in Maudaso and Ntom in the Central Region have however not been handed over yet, due to some administrative handicaps.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

1 Comment
  1. Frank says

    This is fantastic news. It’s about time.

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