General News of Thursday, 13 December 2018
Parliament yesterday approved the budget estimates of GH¢246,966,071 for the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources for its operations in 2019.
This was a vast improvement over this year’s budget allocation of GH¢183,632,577 to the ministry which represents 34.3% increase over last year’s.
The Chairman of the Committee of Works and Housing, Nana Amoako, who moved the motion for the approval of the budget estimates, said the ministry under its ‘Water For All’ agenda would ensure the continuous expansion of urban water systems in the country.
Water systems to be expanded over the medium term are the Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project (Phase 2), Aqua Africa Water Project, Yendi Water Project, Damango Water Project, Wenchi Water Project, Tamale Water Supply Expansion Project, Sunyani Water Project, Sekondi-Takoradi Water Project and Esiama Water Project.
He said the ministry through the Community Water and Sanitation Agency would construct nine water systems each in the Northern and Central regions – five in the Brong Ahafo Region and two in the Upper West Region.
He continued that the ministry would also drill 250 boreholes in the Brong Ahafo Region and 750 more nationwide, while 12 fully reticulated small town pipe systems and six limited mechanised systems would be constructed in the Volta Region.
According to the chairman, the ministry plans to procure specialised waste management equipment, construct incinerator to augment solid waste management in the country and procure 5,000 waste bins to augment waste collections nationwide.
The chairman told Parliament that the turbidity of major water bodies like River Pra, River Tano, River Birim, River Offin and River Ankobra which serve as major sources of water supply in the country has increased significantly following government’s campaign against illegal mining and continuous monitoring exercise by the ministry.
The ranking member of the committee, Sampson Ahi, who is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Bodi, raised concerns about some specific expenditure to be undertaken by the ministry in 2019.
According to him, the ministry has budgeted GH¢36,000 for watchmen allowances, GH¢18,000 for entertainment, GH¢18,000 for clothing allowances and GH¢81,000 for enlistment into the security services for training.
He indicated that instead of the ministry making such frivolous expenses, it should rather use the money to concentrate on its core mandate of supplying clean water to Ghanaians.
The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, explained that the enlistment into the security services is to offer training to their waste management taskforce who would also be given clothing allowances.
In a related development, the House has also approved the budget estimates of GH¢500.9 million for the operations of the Ministry of Energy in 2019.