GOV’T URGED TO LOOK AT LIFE AFTER AVRL.. AS MANAGEMENT CONTRACT FAILS
The failure of the World Bank-sponsored urban water reforms in Ghana brings Ghana back to the drawing table and presents an urgent challenge for all Ghanaians to contribute to the search for a viable solution to potable water delivery in Ghana.
Consequently, the National Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water (NCAP) has proposed a national dialogue that will collectively chart a new path for water delivery in Ghana when the Aqua Vitens Rand Limited (AVRL) management contract ends next year, since it has failed to deliver the projected outcomes and is to blame for the crises currently.
Such a dialogue, they said should involve all stakeholders and should examine what financing and water management options are open to Ghana.
A spokesperson of NCAP, Alhassan Adams added that it will be suicidal for government to renew the Aqua Vitens Rand management contract.
According to Alhassan Adam from NCAP, the persistent water shortage in 2008, which was used as a campaign message by the National Democratic Congress, was one of the major factors that eclipsed the fall of the New Patriotic Party. In addition to the campaign message, the then flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress party, Professor Atta Mills, now president of Ghana also stated categorically at an Institute of Economic Affairs Presidential Debate that he does not believe in water privatization.
Ghanaians, he said will not countenance a renewal of the management contract in view of the persistent water problems that have bedeviled the country over the past years that AVRL managed the sector. “Ghanaians will certainly not allow themselves to be taken for yet another reckless ride… he added.�?
If Ghanaians will remember, the AVRL has in the past few weeks made the news in putting out some feelers in their bid to have the management contract renewed. Just this week, the acting board chairman of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Arnold Seshi, said his team has called for documents on the management contract for review, stating that AVRL is performing and operating within the law and arrangement within the signed agreement.
Addressing the media in a press conference in Accra, the NCAP said that the recent water crisis was inevitable. According to them, the coalition commented on the state of the lowlift pumps at the country’s two major water head works in Weija and Kpong without any response from the AVRL. They were therefore astonished at the surprise being feigned by AVRL as though this situation came about without any notice.
“Indeed access, quality, and reliability indicators have suffered woeful decline under the AVR management contract signed in April 2006. Between the period the contract commenced and 2008, water tariffs shot up by as much as 67%. As we speak,�? the NCAP added, “AVRL has tabled proposals for further tariff increases. Sadly, these increases have not translated into improved service delivery.�?
This recent water crisis, Alhassan Adam said, has exposed a lack of technical capacity on the part of AVRL and affirmed the conviction of the Coalition that Ghana can solve their own water problems through public financing and public management.
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