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Ghana to commit specific budget line to sanitation and hygiene

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Ghana’s Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, has stated in the aftermath of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High Level Meeting (HLM) held in Washington D.C. in the USA, that the government of Ghana, has decided to commit a specific budget line to sanitation and hygiene.

He indicated that Ghana took the decision alongside other participating developing countries at the just ended HLM, in order to improve on sanitation coverage in their various countries.

Speaking in an interview after the high level ministerial conference that attracted over 100 government officials from 50 countries, Mr. Ofosu Ampofo, who was one of three ministers representing Ghana, said: “For instance, one of the statements we made is for a specific budget line to be made available for sanitation and hygiene.”

“Hitherto it was about water and sanitation but there is now more emphasis to commit more resources to sanitation and hygiene. Once we are able to commit resources to sanitation and hygiene, I believe that these challenges that I am talking of will be addressed,” he added.

Ghana’s minister in charge of sanitation, also praised highly the HLM, saying it had brought about knowledge sharing amongst the various countries and officials that participated, as well as commitments from them to improve upon water and sanitation access in their countries.

Also commenting on the lack of adequate structures for Ghana’s water sector, Ghana’s Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hon. Enoch Teye Mensah, stated: “First of all, we haven’t put in enough money to develop the structures.  If we develop the structures properly, it will be a win win situation. If you want to know the houses that have been built, you can then let us pay the property taxes and all the other taxes that you need to plough back into expanding your systems and making it work – So that is one of the problems – that we don’t put value into building the structures as we should.”

The third minister to represent Ghana was Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, who presented seven key commitments made by the Ghana Government with respect to sanitation and water to the august gathering, the first of which is to continue to prioritise sanitation and water at the highest political level.

For his part, Ghana’s former President John Agyekum Kufuor, who chaired the second HLM in his capacity as chair for the SWA Partnership, spoke of the significance of the partnership and the importance it holds for member governments.

“Government must use partnerships. We are here for sanitation and water for all partnership high level meeting. I believe all our governments should be active members of this partnership, so that where they lack adequate resources, partnerships like this one will help them mobilise internationally to help them top up on what they can provide locally,” he emphasised.

SWA’s second HLM was held at the World Bank’s premises in Washington D.C., United States of America on Friday, April 20, 2012, as part of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings and brings together governments, NGOs, the private sector and civil society.

The first meeting was held on April 23, 2010 at the same venue.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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