‘Government needs to invest more in WASH services’

Accra, Water Aid Ghana has urged the Government to increase its budgetary allocation towards Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to enable citizens to benefit adequately from these essential social services.

The organisation said the 2018 budgetary allocation of 186 million cedis for WASH services, plus the GH255 million Sanitation Fund approved by the Government recently, were woefully inadequate, and that the sector required about 386 million dollars annually to improve WASH access.

I think close to 60 per cent of the allocation will be going to emolument to cover staff salaries and so on, with only 40 per cent going into actual service delivery, which still leaves a huge gap, Mr Mohammed Abdul Nashiru, the Country Director of Water Aid Ghana, said on Thursday.

Mr Nashiru was speaking at a press briefing and launch of policy brief on How to Reach Everyone with Safe Water and Sanitation by 2030, in Accra.

He said the Government’s financial allocation to WASH needed to be topped in order to meet the SDGs Goal Six on Clean Water and Sanitation, which mandates countries to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

Mr Nashiru said as the world prepared to do a first review of the SDGs at the UN General Assembly in July, this year, Ghana ought to assess its commitment towards WASH and how it was addressing that mandate.

He said the SDGs required countries to make access to everyone everywhere with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, which formed essential platform for progress in health, education, nutrition, work and economic development, without which the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development would fail.

He urged government to partner private organisations to turn water into resources, adding that government needed to look for resources in-country to sustain WASH programmes.

Mr Nashiru, however, commended the Government for launching the National Sanitation Authority, the National Sanitation Fund, as well as announcing the institution of the Sanitation Brigades and Marshals, adding that it needed to expedite action to bring those programmes on-board.

Mr George Yorke, the Head of Policy at Water Aid Ghana, in a presentation, noted that the situation on WASH in the country was a serious one, which needed urgent attention.

Ghana is at a critical juncture, 22 per cent Ghanaians still do not have access to clean water and 86 per cent still live without adequate sanitation facilities.

Much is yet to be done if we are to achieve the SDGs and lift people out of poverty. This can only be achieved if we addressed the current WASH crisis, especially for the most marginalised communities with a sense of urgency and determination, he said.

Mr Yorke said statistics indicate that only 27 per cent of Ghana’s population was able to access water at their premises when needed while six million people in Ghana lack access to safe water.

He said the policy brief being launched was, therefore, calling on governments to partner donors to fight WASH inequality with urgent action on finance, integration and sustainability.

The effect of inadequate WASH services include increase deadly diseases, hours wasted collecting unclean water, girls and women assaulted while forced to defecate outside, and sick children missing school.

Source: Source: Ghana News Agency