Posted by: rumnet | January 31, 2012

US$1.49Bn needed to provide safe water to Ghanaians

US$1.49Bn needed to provide safe water to Ghanaians, but lack of transparency in the sector poses danger to plan

(published in the December edition of the advocate) 

By Joseph Ziem

The Ghana Water Supply Integrity Study (GWSI) report, the result of the Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Africa (TISDA) project being implemented by Transparency International (TI), has revealed that the country would require an amount of US$1.49 billion for the expansion of water supply to meet demand by 2020.

Quoting from a water sector development report of 2009, the GWSI study report also added that whereas an amount of US$811 million dollars would be required to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on water in 2015, average inflow of resources forms 35% of the level that would be required annually.

“Total financial investment needed to achieve MDG for rural water is US$505 million according to the report, disclosing that donor pledge from 2008-2012 is US$175 million leaving a gap of US$330 million for the rural water supply.”

These were disclosed at TISDA Regional Level Workshop on GWSI in Tamale organized by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), local chapter of TI in collaboration with Amasachina Self-Help Development Association.

GII, launched in December 1999, is a non-partisan, non-profit civil empowerment organization focused on the delivery of the essential themes necessary for the creation of a National Integrity System. GII is also a member of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) – a loose entity of selected civil society organizations, some state/quasi-state institutions and the private sector.

Its vision is to achieving a corruption-free Ghana in all spheres of human endeavour where people and institutions act with integrity, accountability and transparency. The mission of GII is to continuously create awareness about the negative effects of corruption and to empower citizens to demand responsiveness and transparency from both public and private institutions in Ghana.

The workshop, brought together various stakeholders in the water sector, and it sought to highlight the transparency and integrity aspect of service delivery in the country’s water sector which are emanating from the TI project (TISDA) implemented in about eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Ghana.

According to Vitus Adaboo Azeem, Executive Secretary of GII, the TISDA project aimed at promoting accountability, transparency and integrity in service delivery, hence enhancing access to quality service delivery. Although Ghana, Senegal and Kenya chose to focus on water service to the citizenry, he indicated that some other countries focused on education and health.

He explained that the three year research project started with a desk study to provide an overview of the water sector in the Ghana in terms of integrity and performance. This Mr. Azeem noted involved a literature review, discussions with water sector actors and focus group discussions with representative of households.

The GII Executive Secretary said six case studies were held in Pantang, Madina and Nima in Greater Accra Region, Ho and Adaklu in the Volta Region and Bekwai in Ashanti Region.

The research findings show important integrity risks that need to be addressed in combination with measures to improve sector performance. Inequity it said is still considerable in Ghana in terms of access to improved water supply and price users pay, stressing that the situation is not in line with the declaration of the UN General Assembly in July 2010 that clean water and sanitation are a human right. The lower income groups suffer most in this situation, the report emphasized.

The report also observed that investment in the water sector is growing, but without improved efficiencies in implementation, this increase in funding will not be sufficient to meet the MDGs. It cited that project procedures which need improvement and benchmarking between projects is particularly weak or not done and further pointed out, that access to information on cost and technology improvements to make sector investments more efficient is virtually absent. 

Allegations of corruption according to the report exist and involve high ranking government officials but also technicians from water companies who are providing illegal water connections.

Transparency, in the formal water supply systems, the report described as average, citing instances where in many transactions, contracts do not exist or are not clear. It stated that accountability faces limitations particularly related to lack of implementation of sanctions, stressing “anticorruption measures and incentives do not exist to encourage good governance.”    

Meanwhile, the report revealed that accessed to improved water supply (UNICEF, WHO 2010) has risen from 56% in 1990 to 82% in 2008 which is above the target of the MDGs.  This would imply that Ghana will meet or surpass the MDG target of 78%, provided that it keeps up with population growth and ensures that facilities are sustained in 2015. Both conditions however may not be achieved because coverage is declining and the coverage data of 82% are much higher than coverage figures presented by water providers.   

The report thus recommended the need to streamline and strengthen anti-corruption tools and the capacity of sector agencies to implement these tools. Adding “there is also the need for donors to introduce anti-corruption clauses in all cooperation agreements, train their own staff or local staff to put these policies into practice and communicate on related activities and progress made, adhere to the highest standards of information disclosure and consultation for all water projects they support, put in place adequate monitoring mechanisms and enforce effective sanctions against corrupt employees and contractors.”

The report also recommended the to increase access to information to the public on the operations of the utility providers by publicizing utility accounts, public expenditure reviews and audit information, budgets, contracting arrangements and annual report.

It nonetheless suggested the involvement of users in decision making, tariff setting, among others. This accompanied by awareness-raising and capacity building initiatives would ensure that beneficiaries are empowered to play a meaningful role in the management of water resources, from the design to the implementation  and supervision of Water Resources Management projects.    


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