Hon. Regional Minister
Hon. Municipal Chief Executive
Representatives of Development Partners
Management and Staff of CWSA
Members of the Press
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Mr. Chairman, Honorable Minister, it is indeed a great pleasure to be part of this august occasion. Today is a special occasion for me as it is the first time I am attending such an event after assuming office as the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources. This will offer me an opportunity to get acquainted with the staff and also apprise myself of the Agency’s activities. CWSA has since its inception provided the anchor for the provision of rural water and sanitation facilities.
However, the rapidly changing environment in the sector requires a shift in strategic direction. The choice of this year’s review theme ‘Rural Water and Sanitation Provision: The Current Role of CWSA, the Gaps and the Way Forward for Effective and Sustainable Delivery’ is timely since the Water and Sanitation Sector is going through a reform process. The significance of this theme cannot be over emphasized especially the fact that the government has brought sanitation and water together under one ministry, ‘The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources’, the first of its kind. The current trends and future outlook of the WASH Sector is becoming a great concern. There is therefore the need for strategic thinking and repositioning of all agencies under the newly created ministry to ensure effective delivery of water and sanitation.
Mr Chairman, I would like to share a few thoughts on some major issues of concern in the sector. The rural sub-sector has historically been heavily dependent on donors for capital investment and the financing model within the subsector has been inadequate to guarantee post construction financing and as such service interruptions remain common. Also, CWSA built its operational financing model largely on institutional fees accrued from implementation of donor projects and government subvention. The recent changes in the financing landscape of Ghana following attainment of lower middle income country in 2011 has led to a decline in grant and loans to the sub-sector. Such constraints in financing without a clear alternative public finance to bridge the gap in donor funding threatens the ability to meet the SDG -6 and related national targets. For an organization like CWSA which has been a major channel for implementing donor funding, such major shift in finance and partnership also has huge implication for the organization’s own financial sustainability and institutional relationships.
The adoption of a Public Private Partnership policy has attracted new funding to the urban water subsector in particular but the appetite for the rural water subsector is yet to be nurtured. Moreover, a scoping mission sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November, 2015 to assess the feasibility for Water and Sanitation sector in Ghana to attract long-term loans from the domestic capital market and the usefulness of establishing a WASH Financing Facility, concluded that efforts to establish a WASH Financing Facility, based on financing by the domestic capital market, is currently not opportune in Ghana.
These changing dynamics as well as other long-term trends in Ghana, require strong institutional capacity to facilitate the sub-sector to navigate the policy, finance, operative model and institutional arrangement adjustment required to steer and keep the sub-sector on track.
Mr Chairman, I believe the urgent need to find workable ways of addressing these issues partly necessitated this conference. This year’s conference presents some unique opportunities to the sector, and is of special significance to charting the part for effective and efficient operations of CWSA to ensuring improved and more sustainable rural water services in the long term. This is the time for CWSA to position itself to be able to address the issues raised and continue to maintain the niche of being an anchor to the WASH sector.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are in a new dawn as a government to ensure that we deliver on our promises. I would take this opportunity to emphasize the government’s determination to achieve the water for all agenda as part of its development objectives. As you are all aware, it is indeed the vision of government to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate water and sanitation facilities for all communities nationwide by the year 2030. The government is therefore committed to the provision of 25,000 boleholes and 300 pipe schemes under the agenda for Water and Sanitation for All. In pursuance of this achievement jobs will be created. There is the need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to achieve these laudable targets. CWSA in particular has a critical role to play and every effort should be made to ensure that the targets set are achieved. We are working together towards a common goal of alleviating poverty and better the living conditions of our people in the rural communities. I will appeal to all to be mindful of our attitudes towards work and also adhere to the Code of Conduct for the public sector.
Mr Chairman, it is commendable that an institutional assessment has been commissioned to guide the repositioning of CWSA. In this regard permit me to acknowledge the support provided by IRC Ghana.
I wish to urge all participants to give this conference the needed attention it deserves that at the end of it all you will come out with practical recommendations for CWSA in particular and the sector as a whole. I also want to take this opportunity to assure all of you that I am eager to spear head and support the repositioning of CWSA as part of my vision for the transformation of the sector.
On my behalf and the ministry, I wish to declare this conference duly opened and may you have fruitful deliberations.
Thank you for your attention and may God richly bless you.