By Edmund Smith-Asante, ACCRA
|Mr Benjamin Arthur|
The Executive Secretary of the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Mr Benjamin Arthur, has told journalists at a media engagement last Thursday that the total budgetary allocation of GH¢294.43 million for agencies and departments in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector was woefully inadequate.
Mr Arthur explained that the GH¢294.43 million figure for WASH formed part of the total budgetary allocation of GH¢984.55 million given to the ministries of Local Government and Rural Development and Water Resources, Works and Housing.
The Local Government Ministry received an allocation of GH¢290.98 million, which was GH¢51 million more than the 2014 figure of GH¢239.95 million, while the Water Resources Ministry was allotted GH¢693.57 million, therefore seeing an increase of GH¢71 million representing 11.45 per cent over the 2014 allocation of GH¢622.29 million.
Allocation to departments, agencies
Presenting an analysis of the 2015 budget allocation to WASH sector ministries, Mr Arthur said the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development was allocated GH¢54.78 million from this year’s budget, and given the country’s estimated population of 26.65 million, each Ghanaian was only entitled to GH¢2.06 of that amount for the whole year for sanitation.
He added that from the GH¢4.40 million earmarked for the Water Resources Commission (WRC), each Ghanaian would receive GH¢0.17, while from the GH¢46.75 million budgeted for the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), each citizen was entitled to GH¢1.75 for 2015.
“The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) share of the budget was GH¢188.30 million and the Water Directorate under the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing would receive GH¢105,773,” he told the journalists.
While admitting that there had been an increase over the 2014 budget figures, Mr Arthur said during a trend analysis, it was noted that the increases had coincided with the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High Level Meetings (HLM) at which the government of Ghana had made pledges for the WASH sector.
In order to arrest the incidence of inadequate budgetary allocation to the WASH sector, CONIWAS drew the government’s attention to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution made in 2010 that made access to safe drinking water and sanitation a human right.
CONIWAS asked that the government kept its promises and commitments made at international and national levels such as the Sharm el-sheik, eThekwini, Sanitation and Water for All Compact, to enhance the speedy delivery of potable water supply on sustainable basis to the citizenry.
“If you don’t have, when you go and they are making the commitments, don’t say anything.
“We ask the government to speed up the implementation of the recommendations of the Urban Water Restructuring Implementation Committee, which among other things recommended improved governance and efficient management of Ghana Water Company Limited under a defined Performance Agreement at all levels. We are not making Ghana Water efficient,” Mr Arthur said.
He also recommended an increase in financial resources to facilitate the delivery of improved water supply to the citizenry and the creation of a special fund to meet the needs of schools across the country under the Schools Health Environment Programme (SHEP).
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This story was first published by the Daily Graphic on March 21, 2015