Sanitation Minister Pushes For Resources

Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Kofi Adda, has outlined plans for more resource allocation by government to address water and sanitation challenges in the country.

The minister, touting the progress made in the sanitation and water sector so far, said he would be pushing for an increase in budgetary allocation from the current 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to about 3 per cent in next year’s budget.

“The funds that we have now are the equivalent of 1.5 per cent of GDP. We are getting that from a situation of uncertainty, but we are taking the necessary steps to becoming a dedicated ministry, to work on increasing those funds in terms of the percentage of GDP,” he revealed.

Mr. Adda made this assertion during a showcase of Ghana’s district-based approach to meeting SDG 6 at the ongoing World Water Week Conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

He said Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, considers the ministry as a key catalyst in achieving one of his flagship programmes. “We now want to double the resources to about 3 per cent of the allocation; but all that will come from the strategic plan that we hope to put together,” the minister underscored.

Mr. Adda said the ministry is working fervently on getting all the other ministries interested and involved in water and sanitation issues through its marketing tool of total sanitation strategy initiative.

The initiative, which will be launched in Ghana a few weeks to come, will get all the other ministries involved in improving water and sanitation through their activities.

“It is to get all the sectors to come together to support the water and sanitation sector and play a part of it. There will be a sort of healthy competition among the ministers that will foster advocacy for allocation of more resources and support to the sector,” he stated.

Mr. Adda said the ministry is also creating a comprehensive strategic plan to realign the approach in meeting the national target of basic sanitation in the next five years.

Touching on what stakeholders should expert from the ministry, Mr. Adda said ending open defecation and providing access to safe drinking water are among the priorities of his outfit.

“We want to get rid of open defecation entirely. We have targeted one million toilets in the next couple of years,” he disclosed.

He asserted that between now and the end of the year, the ministry has projected the construction of about 20,000 toilets countrywide.

“KVIP will be left to the private sector operators to deal with in the markets and communal places. We will support institutional toilets and then household toilets. So in the next three to five years, we hope we can eliminate open defecation,” he pointed out.

Mr. Adda acknowledged the steady progress in providing safe drinking water to the citizenry, which stands at a little over 50 per cent of the population.

“We have targeted a number of boreholes to dig. Currently, we have 25,000 boreholes, 300 small town mechanised systems that we are going to construct with funding from World Bank and African Development Bank,” he added.