Accra, March 19, GNA – Ghana loses about GHc870 million annually because of her inability to make improved sanitation and hygiene services available to the population, according to the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank.
Mr Benjamin Arthur, Executive Secretary of Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), who announced this at a media dialogue, therefore, expressed concern about the inadequate resource allocation in the 2015 National Budget to deal with the issue.
The dialogue was to analyse the 2015 budgetary allocation to the Water Sanitation and Hygiene Sector Ministries towards ensuring the efficient delivery of their mandates.
“The Per Capita Expenditure for the WASH sector Ministries of GHC36.94 is very low as compared to that of Health and Education Ministries,” he stated.
The Government, Mr Arthur said, should, therefore, increase the financial resources to facilitate delivery of improved water, hygiene and sanitation services to promote the wellbeing of the citizenry.
He explained that a study conducted by the World Health Organization in 2004 showed that every dollar ($1) invested in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services would yield an economic return of between $3 and $34, depending on the region and choice of technology.
“This return of investment in WASH Services would be the envy of investors in stocks on the Ghana Stock Exchange,” he said, emphasising that improved WASH services underpinned the Millennium Development Goals and were critical to the successful achievements of the MDGs.
Mr Arthur noted that the budget for goods and services for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development reduced by almost eight per cent, saying, “In the era of cholera outbreaks and National Sanitation Days, one would have thought that, that component would have been increased.”
He pointed out that the 2015 Budget was silent on the proposed review of the National Water Policy (NWP), explaining that, the policy was developed in 2007 and was due for review in 2012.
Though, he said, the 2013 Budget Statement identified it as one of the activities to be implemented, it could not be achieved and was thus restated in the 2014 budget statement.
Mr Arthur said there was a lag in resources to meet the investment need of the WASH sector, which would undermine the delivery of WASH services to the population.
CONIWAS also urged the Government to make special financial allocation to meet improved water supply conditions in all schools across the country, while speeding up the implementation of the recommendations of Urban Water Restructuring Implementation Committee.
The Committee also recommended the improved governance and efficient management of the Ghana Water Company Limited under a defined Performance Agreement at all levels.