President Mills urges chief executives to ensure access to sanitation facilities

President John Evans Atta Mills on Monday tasked Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to implement bye-laws that would ensure that every Ghanaian household have access to appropriate sanitation facilities.

In addition, the assemblies should co-ordinate their policies and projects in harmony with the Local Government Act (Act 462) and National Development Planning Systems Act (ACT 480), to eliminate the prevalent incidence of households without sanitary facilities.

President Mills gave the directive in a speech read on his behalf at the on-going three–day Third Ghana Water Forum organised by the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing in Accra.

It is on the theme: “Water and Sanitation Services Delivery in a Rapidly Changing Urban Environment.”

President Mills advised members of the Assemblies and their Regional Co-ordinating Councils to implement the Community-led Total Sanitation approach as well as the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programmes to address the deplorable sanitation problems facing the country.

“This will give a quantum leap towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on sanitation,” he said.

President Mills said though the required MDG target for water was 76 per cent and 53 per cent for sanitation, government was committed towards exceeding the set target for 2015.

“…Government will spare no effort to ensure that we do better than the targets set for us by 2015. Government’s target is 85 per cent by 2015.”

President Mills expressed the hope that completion of water projects supported by the World Bank and China would “see a rapid improvement in the delivery of water supply to urban centres”.

Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, Associate Professor at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, called for a “Water Fund” to serve as a safety net to cater for the marginalised and disadvantaged in the society who could not afford to pay for water.

“My preference is for a Water Fund along the lines of the Ghana Education Trust Fund and the Road Fund,” he said.

Prof Ahwoi said Ghana’s rapidly changing urban population meant that the country could not continue to use systems that were designed to provide water and sanitation services to an urban population that was half the number of the current population at the time they were designed.

He observed that major problems of urban water supply and sanitation services were that the two sectors, together with environmental hygiene, were not holistically managed and controlled.

Prof Ahwoi, said: “The monopolistic control of urban water supply by Ghana Water Company Limited and the phenomenon of ‘human settlement before planning’ made it difficult for water providers to plan for future water and sanitation needs.

He said there was the need to decentralise the water and sanitation sector in order to manage the local level with the participation of the citizenry.

Prof Ahwoi proposed the production, transmission and distribution of water to be undertaken by different bodies or organisations.

He called for ‘regionalisation’ of urban water supply and management by clustering urban settlements around water production and treatment sources.

Prof Ahwoi was optimistic that introduction of a public private partnership system would inject competition and efficiency in the water sector.

Source: GNA

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