Gov’t secures $77.34m loan from World Bank

…to construct 200,000 boreholes in 6 regions

Alban Bagbin, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing (left), Minister Alban Bagbin planting a ceremonial tree as part of the launch of the Sustainable Water and Sanitation Project (right)

The government has received $77.34 million from the World Bank to provide safe drinking water for over 600,000 rural folks in 54 districts, in six regions of Ghana, under the Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project (SRWSP).

The Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr. Alban Bagbin, who announced this project at Nanton-Zuo in the Tamale Metropolis on Wednesday, said the World Bank was providing $75 million of the funding, while the Ghana government was also adding $2.34 million for the five-year project.

The beneficiary regions include the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Central and Western regions, with 14 districts out of the 20 districts of the Northern Region benefiting. So far, only 58.97% of the rural communities in the region have access to safe drinking water.

However, Mr. Bagbin commended the World Bank for its support to the various sectors of the country’s economy, and predicted that the project could contribute to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals target of 76 percent and 56 percent in water and sanitation respectively, by 2015.

It is estimated that over 20,000 good yielding boreholes with hand pumps would be constructed under the project, to improve and increase access to water in the six regions.

Mr. Bagbin also appealed to the beneficiary communities and Ghanaians in general, to observe good sanitary practices, in order to reduce the rate of preventable diseases.

He also spoke against open defecation, which he said, had become a normal practice for most people, who did not think about the end implications.

The Minister advised the chiefs and people in the beneficiary communities to also preserve the water bodies for their own good.

However, Mr. Bagbin expressed worry over what he termed the numerous shoddy projects that were executed in the pas, and could not serve their intended purposes, and thus charged the appropriate agencies to ensure that the project would be monitored to avoid shoddy works.

He urged the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) to see to it that the right procedures were followed, and competitive tendering was used in the award of contracts.

Mr. Sam Nasamu Asabigi, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, appealed to development partners to consider giving some new facilities to the other districts in the region that were not going to benefit from the project.

He said only four districts in the region were benefiting, while 10 would benefit from rehabilitation, and expressed concern over two major impediments facing the region, which were low access to ground water, and the incidence of high fluoride content.

Mr. Clement Bugase, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, said 1,200 boreholes, 40 limited mechanised water systems and 29 full scale mechanised water supply systems would be constructed.

He said the project would also rehabilitate 13 non-optimal performing small town water supply systems in the Northern Region, while 400 broken boreholes in some communities would also be rehabilitated.

Mr. Vanture Bengonechea, a Representative of the World Bank, said the project would assist the government to overcome the water and sanitation problems facing the country, and in meeting the MDGs.

He also assured the people of Ghana of the continuous support of the World Bank.

In another development, Action-Aid Ghana has presented some building materials and other relief items, estimated at £20,000 to the Central Gonja District of the Northern Region, for distribution to the inhabitants of 13 communities severely affected by the recent flood disaster, and who have agreed to move to higher grounds.
The devastating floods, which affected over 32,000 people in 55 communities, also destroyed several homes, farmlands, roads, and bridges among others.
However, the gesture forms part of Action Aid Ghana’s humanitarian services to the people its its operational areas. The items included 50 maxi bags of rice, 200 maxi bags of maize, 100 bags of millet, 100 gallons of cooking oil, 50 packets of blended flour, 50 bags of beans, 20 bags of sugar, and 20 bags of iodated salt.

The rest comprise 250 mosquito nets, 400 packets of roofing sheets, 20 boxes of Key soap and 20 bags of bathing soap. A total targeted number of 500 households in 13 affected communities, including Konoto, Adidodeke, Agege, Freetown, Santa, Mawekrom and Avegorme all in the Central Gonja district, are to benefit from the donation.

When The Northern File visited some of the affected communities, it discovered that the majority of the victims were now recovering from their traumas, with some also engaged in fish mongering.

Some of the women complained about the lack of drinking water, since their water sources and Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pits (KVIPs) had all been destroyed by the floods.

Making a symbolic presentation at Minpeasem, a fishing community near Buipe, the Deputy Country Director of Action-Aid Ghana, Mohammed Yakubu Saani, said human security intervention was one of the topmost priorities of Action Aid, and unveiled plans to also relocate the residents of Bonyamo and Kikale No. 4, the worst affected communities, as a means of restoring the hope and dignity of the victims.

The District Chief executive (DCE) for Central Gonja, Issifu Sualisu Be-Awuribe, described Action Aid Ghana’s donation as the largest single major support the victims had received.

He passionately advised the flood victims who are still living in lowlands along the Volta Lakes, to relocate to higher and safer grounds.

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