The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources is actively engaging partners to structure a Ghana Water Enterprise Trust, an independent entity that will attract more funding for the provision of safe, reliable and affordable water for all.
The Ministry is, therefore, engaging with Safe Water Network, a US-based non-governmental organisation, to provide its Small Water Enterprises Working Group the needed governance in scaling up water supply to communities, especially the Peri-urban and small towns, and the rural areas across the country.
Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, announced this at the opening of the “2018 Beyond the Pipe Forum,” held on Wednesday in Accra. The forum was organised by Safe Water Network to convene sector leadership to advance a dialogue on small water enterprises (SWEs) and catalyse action that could contribute to achieving sustainable and safely managed water services consistent with SDG 6.1.
It is estimated that Ghana would require close to one billion dollars as an annual investment in the water supply sector to meet the SDG requirement. Currently, the Government of Ghana commits 82 million dollars to fund the sector, while the development partners contribute 32 million dollars, leaving a funding gap of 832 million dollars.
Mr Adda said access to basic social services including water supply remained a key priority for government and that it was committed to achieving it vision of providing safe, reliable and affordable water for all.He said other areas being focused included the strengthening of institutional structures of the Ministry to bring increased focus to public private partnerships and business development efforts.
It is also to staff the Ministry with economics, legal, investment advisors and other professionals, professionalising delivery of water at all levels and creating a more conducive policy environment for small water enterprises. He said being in the new Ministry that was set up barely a year ago, he now appreciated the greater role that small water enterprises could play to help achieve its vision of water for all by 2025, and SDG 6.1 for safely managed water supply by 2030.
He acknowledged the tremendous contribution of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ghana’s water sector, saying both partners have invested in the sector for decades. “The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is investing €3million over the next three years with Safe Water Network. We applaud your interest and support to the sector in diverse ways,” Mr Adda stated.
Mr Charles Nimako, the Director of Africa Initiatives, Safe Water Network, noted that the forum was the sixth to be organised in the country, through which the Network had demonstrated the critical role of the SWEs in providing accessible water to reach the 3.2 million of the 8.3 million people that lacked access to water supply in Ghana.
He said the SWEs could achieve its targets by addressing several requirements, which included financing a network of skilled implementers along with the required toolkits, supportive supervision, regulation, a conducive policy and enabling environment for replication.
Mr Fred Smiet, the First Secretary for Water and Climate, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, noted that his country would continue to play a key role in supplying water to the people until it reached its target of making water accessible to 50 million people worldwide.
He said Netherlands contributed the highest amount to Ghana’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes. He said water provision and accessibility to communities must be made sustainable since sustainability had proved to be a big challenge.
By Lydia Kukua Asamoah/Thelma Abbey, GNA