Delivered At The 2008 Annual Review Conference Of The Community Water And Sanitation Agency(Cwsa) Held From 23rd – 27th March 2009 At Miklin Hotel, Kumasi In The Ashanti Region
Honourable Regional Minister, Chief Executive of CWSA, Regional Directors of CWSA, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am greatly delighted and deem it a privilege to be present with you at this Annual Review Conference of the CWSA. As a new Minister to this Ministry, I am optimistic that this Annual Review Conference will provide an appropriate forum to interact with key players in this sector and also learn more about the operations of CWSA.
Mr. Chairman, it is important to remind all participants at this Workshop of the need for us to have a new outlook with respect to our work. In line with the aspirations of this new government, we must all endeavour to do things differently from what we have been doing over the years. I am informed that this review conference is something that you do every year. Indeed it is good to review activities at the end of a planned period to ensure that targets set are achieved and deviations identified for necessary corrective measures to be adopted to address the deviations. I must however draw your attention to the Presidents commitment to cut down the cost of protocol, workshops and seminars. As a public Agency, you should adopt new strategies that will enable you achieve your goals at reduced cost.
As you go through this review conference, let me urge you all to come up with strategies that will help the Agency to do better than it has done over the past years. You must not be complacent with what you have achieved, you should rather challenge yourself to reach the next higher level. The cost expended in organizing this review conference should be justified with concrete, achievable and measurable program of action developed to address challenges that militated against the performance of the Agency during the period under review.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am informed that the theme of this Annual Review Conference is Facilitation of the National Community Water and Sanitation Program (NCWSP): Emerging Challenges and the Way Forward. My understanding is that CWSA by its Act has the mandate to facilitate the NCWSP and the Agency has been doing this over the past decade. Any program will experience some challenges as the years go by and it is essential that as managers of the program, you identify these challenges and address them. No matter the challenges that you face as Agency, you must understand that people in the rural communities need to have access to potable water and good sanitation facilities. The onus therefore lies on you to ensure that our people living in rural communities and small towns have access to these basic necessities of life.
Mr. Chairman, I want to take this opportunity to admonish the Management of CWSA to specify the actual challenges that are militating against the progress of the National Community Water and Sanitation Program. Focus should be on real bottlenecks to implementation arrangements and not any illusionary threats to the Agency. As managers of the sector, you should be able to spell out the challenges actually working against the smooth implementation of the NCWSP. You do not need to organize workshops and conferences before you can identify the challenges facing the delivery of water and sanitation delivery in the country.
As you all know, expanding the coverage of water and sanitation facilities to rural communities and small towns is one of the critical pillars of this governments development agenda. As government intends to make available the requisite resources to provide potable water to the people, particular attention will also be on the Management of the Agency. More will be expected of CWSA to achieve the governments agenda with respect to water and sanitation.
Management of state organizations should apply strategic managerial practices to ensure that the organizations perform creditably. You must be cautious about expenditure and always take decisions that will bring about cost saving and enhance efficiency. You must ask yourselves whether you will take a particular decision if you were the one providing the funds for that activity. Good business practices should be adopted and applied in your management of the sector.
Mr. Chairman, I am informed that some of the CWSA staff are apprehensive about the future role of the Agency, if the decentralization is deepened and the capacity of district assemblies are fully built. The CWSA has been given specific functions which are clearly spelt out in the CWSA Act, (Act 564). The Agency is expected to perform these functions within the decentralization program. These functions are required of the Agency, irrespective of the level of capacity of district assemblies or other critical sector players. The regulatory functions entrusted to the Agency are not transient in nature. Management should initiate steps towards the promulgation of the relevant legislative instrument to empower the Agency to carry out its functions appropriately.
Mr. Chairman, a thorough analysis of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency Act, 1998 (Act 564) places a lot of responsibility in the hands of the Agency with respect to the provision of safe water and related sanitation services to rural communities and to provide for connected purposes. CWSA Management and staff must be proactive and apply good marketing as well as advocacy skills in their dealings with the other stakeholders, especially district assemblies and NGOs. You should take initiative and dialogue with your key partners. The Agencys reason for existence is to ensure that there is 100% coverage for safe water and good sanitation services in rural communities and small towns. You will continuously have to plan and devise strategies in collaboration with the various district assemblies to ensure that coverage is progressively going up. Continuous updating of coverage statistics and periodic review of your Strategic Investment Plan is a function that all successive governments will expect you to perform. You agree with me that this will require you to work in close collaboration with district assemblies and NGOs to accomplish this function effectively.
Mr. Chairman, colleague Minister, distinguish Ladies and Gentlemen, there is the need to ensure that clear guidelines are put in place concerning the operation and maintenance of facilities. You will be required to assist the district assemblies to ensure that this is done. Your monitoring role will be critical in the performance of your regulatory function. You must therefore prepare yourself and position the Agency in a manner that will enable you achieve your goal.
I am informed that the Agency has started a re-engineering process towards re-defining and putting in place the right organizational structure and operational processes to enable CWSA perform its core functions as stipulated in Act 564. This change process should take cognizance of all the developments in the sector as well as the governments program to accelerate coverage of water supply to our people. You are expected to work closely with district assemblies to remove all bottlenecks to speedy implementation of projects.
I must state that as the Minister for this sector, I will not tolerate any apathy towards work. The governments philosophy of transparency and reduction in expenditure will be pursued vigorously. In line with the Presidents vision, no one who breaches the law will be protected. You must play your part with all dedication.
To conclude, I am optimistic that you would be more exhaustive in your deliberations at this Annual Review Conference. Careful analysis should be made of the past years activities, especially how to address challenges that made the Agency not to achieve most of its set targets. Once again I want to reiterate my concern that you come up with an achievable work plan that would help CWSA to increase coverage, cut down on expenditure and improve transparency in your operations. You should also critically explore the changes that need to be effected to ensure that CWSA is strategically positioned to achieve its goals.
I wish to reiterate once again my partys commitment to water delivery in the rural communities which will make life bearable for our rural inhabitants. I promise to give off my best and together I hope we can help accelerate the delivery of potable water to the rural communities and small towns of Ghana.
Thank you and may God bless us all.