Water, sanitation & hygiene not govt’s priority – CONIWAS

Vice Chairman of the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Mr Atta Arhin, has told journalists at a media engagement last Tuesday that the total budgetary allocation of GH¢246 million for agencies and departments in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector was woefully inadequate.

According to him, CONIWAS has followed with keen interest, recent trends in budgetary allocations and subsequent release to the respective agencies for planned interventions and can say on authority that allocations to the WASH sector has not been favorable.

“We at CONIWAS have noticed that the trend in budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources has generally not been favorable for the needed investment in the WASH sector, while most government promises, policies, and strategic intents, as well as international commitments have not been redeemed.

“Against expectations by the Coalition, the 2019 Budget Statement also follows a similar trend, reaffirming our assertion that WASH issues are still not a government priority.” He maintained.

Mr Arhin reiterated that past and present governments have failed to practically demonstrate the needed interest in providing safe drinking water and improved sanitation to the people. This he said has reflected in the persistent low financial allocation and untimely release of funds for investments in the sector.

Presenting an analysis of the 2019 budget allocation to WASH sector ministry, Mr Arhin explained that the Government of Ghana (GoG) is a signatory to the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which desire to ‘ensure availability and Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation for all by 2030 and is therefore expected to provide the necessary financial, human, material and technical resources as well as right policies to realize this ambition.

The CONIWAS vice Chair hinted that Ghana requires US$386m annually to achieve SDG 6 by 2030. However, the 2019 budget allocates only Ghc246m which is equivalent to US$50M representing 13% of the estimates required, making the allocation in 2019 woefully inadequate.

It currently stands to suggests that if the allocation currently made continues as a trend, Ghana cannot meet its SDG 6. It is also noteworthy that, though the budget allocation made to the WASH sector in the previous years have been fluctuating in nominal terms (Ghc 255m for 2017; Ghc 189m for 2018; and Ghc 246m for 2019), these allocation have been dwindling in relation to GDP (0.5% in 2017, 0.3% in 2018, and 0.1% in 2019).

CONIWAS’ budget tracking report for 2018 (January to September) reveals low redemption rates of approved budget. Again a report from the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing shows that the total disbursements for the year 2018 was 45.16% (Ghc 82.92m) of the total budget allocation of Ghc183.63m. further the total disbursement covered by GoG was about 13% of the total amount budgeted for 2018. This was Ghc 9,193,720.00 out of Ghc71.0m.

The Coalition is therefore calling on government to strengthen and supports the MSWR to provide the requisite leadership in the delivery of services through its departments and agencies and in partnership with other ministries.

CONIWAS frowns on the blatant disregard for the observation procedures and principles for sustainable service delivery. He added.


Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkor@gmail.com

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