By Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
Accra, Oct. 30, GNA – Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR), has called on the public, especially stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, to support the Ministry’s effort to establish the National Sanitation Authority (NSA).
The NSA, when established, would ensure that the required legal framework for the achievement of a cleaner and healthier environment is put in place.
Madam Dapaah made the call in a statement read on her behalf at a stakeholders’ forum organised by the Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and the Media Coalition against Open Defaecation (M-CODe), to deliberate on the importance of setting up the National Sanitation Authority.
President Akufo-Addo in November 2017 announced government’s plans to establish a National Sanitation Authority (NSA), which would derive its financial resources from a National Sanitation Fund (NSF) to be established alongside.
In line with this, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), Ghana, undertook a study of similar institutions in order to draw lessons to inform the setting of the NSA of Ghana.
This study was carried out across 15 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East and the lessons and recommendations submitted to the Ministry, leading to the development of a draft bill that was submitted to Cabinet for review and for subsequent parliamentary approval.
However, for close to two years now, there has been limited public information about the status of the draft bill.
Madam Dapaah said the plan for the NSA was still on course and would be staffed with relevant technical and professional staff with required knowledge and training to deal with areas like liquid and solid waste management, drain maintenance, storm water management, and monitoring and evaluation, she said.
It will also have in place a sustainable and continuous flow of funds to prevent their services from going to a halt, she said, adding that it could only be achieved by setting up a National Sanitation Fund (NSF) with a percentage of the consolidated fund.
“The Onus is now on us to realign our NSA/NSF with Government’s policies and at the same time redesigned it in such a way that its power and authority will not be compromised in order to derive the needed change in sanitation,” she said.
The Minister mentioned a proposed structure for the NSA/NSF, staffing of the NSA/NSF, sources of funding and geographical location of NSA/NSF offices and ancillary infrastructure as some of the preliminary activities for the establishment of NSA and NSF.
Mr Kweku Quansah, the Deputy Director of the MSWR, said maintaining good sanitation had been challenging due to lack of finance and technical capacity in delivery of service as well as weak and fragmented institutional arrangements.
On his part, one hindrance to fighting sanitation problems was not the work force but non-existent of strong institutions, and called on the private sector to join forces with government to strengthen the district level institutions.
He described environmental sanitation as a human right and a basic necessity that contributed to better human health, dignity, quality of life and increase in the lifespan of the population.
The Authority would be an independent body, without control from the MSWR, he said.
Madam Ama Ofori Antwi, the Executive Secretary of the Environmental Service Providers Association, said an independent Authority would promote proper coordination with the private sector on WASH.
“Because, when we want to take an action about solid waste, liquid waste or something else, we go to the sanitation Ministry, Local Government Ministry or the Environmental Protection Agency. So you can feel the fragmentation and discomfort in dealing with environment projects,” she added.
She noted that the Sanitation Authority would promote coordination among both public and private sectors of WASH, with guidelines, codes and regulations, hence, the need to establish it within the shortest possible time.
Mr Yaw Atta Arhin, the Vice Chairman of CONIWAS, recommended that the Authority when established implements a sustained behaviour changing mechanism to control sanitation problems.
He advised that the Authority would prevent its operations from being subjected to bureaucracies.
Dr Tanko Azzika, Research Advocacy and Policy Influencing Lead, said across all countries, no single organization took responsibility for all the activities but the various functional features were usually divided across a range of different institutions.
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