A Former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Abubakar Saddique Boniface, has rekindled the debate on whether or not it was time for Ghana to introduce prepaid metering in the water sector.
The proposal which the Ghana Water Company hopes to pilot in some areas, has been largely condemned by civil society organizations who argue it will deny the poor access to water and trigger water borne diseases.
But the company insists the move will curtail losses and help it recoup investment to improve supply.
However, speaking on Kumasi-based -Ultimate Radio, the Former Minister noted strongly that a metering system would worsen the inadequacies in the water sector and called on Government to rethink the proposal.
“In the interest of the nation, the government must ask itself whether we are even delivering the most effective and efficient water system to the people of this country; because water is a basic necessity that the individual cannot survive without. And if they know much about the metering system, even if air passes through the pipes, the system is going to record. Countries including America, Britain, Uganda and South Africa have suffered it and if they want to create a pandemic of cholera in this country, they can go ahead because the ordinary man who will not have enough money to get the treated water will be forced to go to any water body to fetch the water,” he said.
He opined that the best option for Government was to invest massively in the sector and improve on infrastructure which has caused the water company all its losses. He said, “not until this is done, there shouldn’t be any thought of a prepaid metering system in the first place.”
“When I talk of efficiencies and infrastructure in the water sector, let’s be honest. The population growth of Ghana is 2.2 to 2.3 percent and the water supply infrastructure is less than 1.1%. You see the difference in-between, so if you are not able to meet this imbalance, it is a problem. Most of our infrastructure in the water supply sector is dilapidated,” he bemoaned.
Mr. Saddique Boniface attributed the current acute shortage of water in the Greater Accra Region to the current government’s failure to continue the rehabilitation and reconstruction works that were commenced under the presidency of John Agyekum Kuffour.
He said “what needs to be done now is to get an efficient and effective management body to monitor our pipelines because at the end of the day when people are not getting water, they will be forced to temper with our pipelines. Immediately we begin a prepaid metering system, we will see what will happen in this country” he cautioned.
The former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing called Government to be honest and sympathize with the citizenry in its policy directions.