Mr. Chairman, Honorable Regional Minister for the Ashanti Region, Honourable Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Head Office and Regional Directors of CWSA, Project Advisors, Ladies and Gentlemen, once again we have gathered here to review our activities for the year 2008. My prayer is that all participants would contribute and actively participate in deliberations at this Review Conference. We must have a common goal of ensuring that challenges facing the Agency are addressed to enable us reach our target.
Mr. Chairman, Honourable Ministers, during the period under review, the CWSA continued its critical role of managing the National Community Water and Sanitation Program (NCWSP). The Agency had had to contend with serious financial challenges in carrying out its facilitating role. The Agency over the years had relied on funding from the Government of Ghana to meet its recurrent expenditure for the Agency's operations. Our development partners have mainly provided funding for service and investment activities.
The budget for Item 1 (Personnel Emoluments) submitted by CWSA for the year 2008 was GH¢1,650,640 as against approved ceiling by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of GH¢2,340,339. The actual amount that was released to the Agency during the year was GH¢1,764,729. The budget submitted for Item 2 (Administrative Expenses) was GH¢1,653,076 and the amount approved by the Ministry was GH¢883,486 but the amount that was released to the Agency was only GH¢851,662. The huge shortfall of GH¢769,590 in the Item 2 between the amount budgeted by CWSA and the amount approved placed a lot of restriction on the operations of the Agency and militated against its performance in the year. Unfortunately, even the total amount approved was not released to the Agency.
This perennial financial difficulty has been impeding the progress of work of the Agency. We are appealing to the new Minister, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to assist the Agency to address this problem once and for all. It must be stressed that without adequate budget provision to meet the Administrative expenses of the Agency, it would be very difficult to meet the targets set in the Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) and also, towards the attainment of the MDG targets.
Human Resource Issues
Mr. Chairman, Honourable Ministers, during the year under review, the Agency continued to work with the staff strength of about 200. The Agency is currently reviewing and assessing plans to increase the staff strength to the approved manpower ceiling of 233. In the light of developments in the sector critical assessment has to be made to ensure that the Agency do not rush to recruit more staff than necessary.
The Agency continued to battle with the challenge of using old vehicles in many of the regions and especially at Head Office. Lack of new and strong vehicles is seriously impacting against the progress of the Agency. The high cost of vehicle maintenance due to the over aged vehicles coupled with the dwindling Administrative Budget for the Agency makes the situation more precarious. Once again, I would use this opportunity to appeal to the Ministry to help the Agency acquire a few new vehicles from GoG funding to supplement the limited number funded by on going Projects.
SECTOR PERFORMANCE FOR THE YEAR 2008
Mr. Chairman, Honorable Ministers, during the year under review, the Agency operated under the theme Facility Ownership and Effective Operation and Maintenance - A Challenge for Sustainability. The question of ownership was identified to have a strong bearing on operation and maintenance, which is vital for sustainability.
During the year 2008, the Agency facilitated the delivery of the following:
- A total of 1,784 boreholes were constructed as against an annual target of 1,270.
- A total of 302 boreholes were rehabilitated as against an annual target of 140.
- 54 hand dug wells were completed against a target of 60.
- Fourteen (14) small towns' piped systems were constructed against a target of 45.
- In addition, the Agency far exceeded its planned target to construct 1000 household VIP latrines, by constructing a total of 4,261 household VIP latrines. However, only 439 household KVIP latrines were constructed against a target of 2,800.
- 504 schools/Institutions latrines were constructed against a target of 700
- A total of 63 WATSANS were formed against a target of 530 whereas 824 were trained as against a target of 1,180.
- In addition, 5 WSDBs were formed compared with a target of 25 whilst 111 others were trained against a target of 70.
- In addition, 18 Small Towns Operators were trained compared with a target of 30. Also 3,830 Pump Caretakers were trained as against a target of 1,600.
Status of On-going Projects
Mr. Chairman, Honourable Ministers, let me give you a brief synopsis of the status of some of the key project interventions as at the end of 2008:
- EU/GOG funded Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project: The project is progressing steadily in the Western and Central regions to provide potable water and sanitation facilities in 39 small towns. Tendering and award of contracts for civil works, supply and installation of water storage tanks and electromechanical equipments have been completed. The respective contractors have mobilized to begin work.
- IDA/GOG Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project: The project is being implemented in the Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Western and Central Regions. The initial phase of the project covered 40 small towns. With additional funding from IDA, 22 additional systems are currently under construction and 11 more systems would be constructed when the on-going negotiations for a second additional funding is completed. The project is scheduled for completion in April 2010.
- KFW/GOG Rural Water Supply Program IV: The program covers 15 districts in the Ashanti and is providing boreholes fitted with handpumps, household and institutional latrines. A total 1032 successful boreholes out of 1090 boreholes under the project have been completed as at the end of 2008. Construction of household and institutional latrines is progressing steadily. The programme is scheduled for completion in 2010.
- ADB/GOG Rural Water and Sanitation Initiative: The project is being implemented in 14 districts in the Ashanti Region to provide:
- 1406 boreholes fitted with hand pumps
- 2 small towns water supply schemes
- 10 rainwater harvesting systems
- 6000 household latrines
- 200 KVIP latrines
- share septic tanks
- watershed management
About 40% of project activities have been completed. Although the project was initially designed to end this year, 1 year extension has been requested due to initial delays in the project start up.
- The AFD/GOG Rural Water and Sanitation Project: The project is to provide water and sanitation facilities to some rural communities and small towns in the Brong Ahafo Region as follows:
- 621 boreholes with hand pumps
- 112 hand dug wells with hand pumps
- 18 small towns networks
- 3 multi village networks
- 5000 household latrines
- 161 institutional latrines
The Technical Assistance firm, BCEOM and Partners mobilized to start service as Management Advisors on the 9th March 2009.
- The CIDA/GOG Northern Region Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project (NORST): The project is being implemented in the Eastern corridor of the Northern Region with funding from CIDA. It is to provide about 35 small towns with potable water and sanitation facilities over a 7 year period.
- DANIDA assisted District Based Water and Sanitation Component: The component formed part of DANIDAs Water and Sanitation Sector Programme II and was implemented in the Volta, Eastern, Greater Accra and Central Regions. Activities under the component ended in October 2008 with provision of potable water to over 300,000 people in the four regions. Sanitation facilities such as KVIPs, and WCs to improve environmental sanitation in the beneficiary communities were also provided. One major component of the programme was the 3-Districts Water Supply Scheme which provided potable water to more than 100 communities in the North Tongu, East and West Dangme Districts.
- DFID/GOG Damanko-Kpassa Water Project: The water project is financed by DFID and GOG and is to provide potable water to 13 guineaworm endemic communities in the northern Volta from Damanko to Kpassa. The project which is based on the Oti river at Damanko is progressing steadily with over 70% of works completed. It is scheduled for completion by June 2009 if GOG funding is provided on a sustainable basis.
The major challenges facing the Agency still remain:
- The inadequate and untimely release of funds to support the operations of the Agency which negatively impacted on the achievements for the year. Most of the shortfall in the budget was in item 2 for administrative expenses.
- The Agency still faced the challenge of dealing with numerous review missions from our external development partners. These missions usually exact many man-hours of attention of the staff that often disrupt the Agencys planned activities.
- The difficulties with the Procurement law and sometimes delays in the approval of tender evaluation reports affected implementation activities.
- Failure by some District Assemblies to comply with Project requirements affected disbursements and project implementation.
Outlook for 2009
The theme for this year is Facilitation of the NCWSP: Emerging Challenges and the Way Forward. The Agency must position itself and focus on its core activities as envisaged under the CWSA Act, (Act 564). The emerging challenges in the facilitating role of the Agency require Management and staff to revise the way we do things in the Agency. We must bring our professional expertise to bear on the job at hand.
The Agency is yet to negotiate the Performance Contract with the State Enterprises Commission (SEC) for 2009. The Agency will endeavour to work hard to achieve the targets that will be negotiated with SEC. It is important to mention that this year's Performance Contract will be negotiated using modified targets that have more bearing on the Agency's core functions as provided for in the Act.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the Agency is not oblivious of its functions and the vital role it has to play in Government's effort towards increasing access to potable water and good sanitation facilities. I will urge all staff to remain steadfast and work hard to enable us achieve the targets we have set for ourselves in the SIP. We need to look ahead and prepare for new challenges especially in relation to our regulatory function.
Thank you and God bless us all.