The Association of Small Towns Water Supply Systems-Ghana is reported by The Herald to have said it would not heed the Government of Ghana’s directive to supply free water to the general public, as part of efforts to ease the suffering of citizens, amidst the outbreak of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. Though the frustration of the Association is justifiable, the approach adopted by them to remedy the situation will rather hurt the already suffering people and communities. The preferred approach will be to join forces with fellow citizens to demand of Government to pay its water bills. The paper reported that;
According to the Association, it is unable to oblige with the President’s request delivered by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta during last month’s mid-year budget review, because the government has failed to pay huge debts owed members of the Association.
The association said they have desperately requested a meeting with the Water and Sanitation Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, but she has refused to meet with them.
“The Association wishes to state categorically that until the government pays the bills submitted fully for the first three months ending June 2020, WSMTs [Water and Sanitation Management Teams (WSMTs)] will not be able to continue with the free water to consumers”.
This means that people who depend on members of the Association for potable water, will have to purchase their water.
In a strongly worded statement signed by its President and Secretary, sighted by The Herald, it disclosed that the government has failed to pay its debt owed them after they supplied the first free water package between April to June.
It argued, it will be impossible for these companies to continue to offer their service to Ghanaians especially when their systems are on electricity prepaid metering.
They queried how they were going to continue to fund their operations when the government which they are working for, is playing adamant.
“Asking the water systems to continue the free water for three more months’ whilst most of the water systems are on electricity prepaid metering, how can they produce water without money. In addition, the water systems pay staff salaries, vendors’ commissions and maintain the water systems from proceeds of water sales which maybe the government is not aware of”, the statement said.
Members decried the government’s quest to give freebies to Ghanaians without consulting them.
“The WSMTs were NOT consulted, yet it directed and instructed all Small Water Systems to comply with the directive by the president. The leadership of the Association sought audience with the sector Minister but was denied without reason”, it said.
The Association maintains it will honour the President directive only, when the government settles the three months water, its members supplied to Ghanaians.
The notice from the private water providers comes barely two week after the Finance Minister announced the second phase of the government’s free water and electricity supply to Ghanaians.
Until recently, the government from 2000, was responsible for the payment of water bills of all state institutions; however, from 2007, all the way to 2012, successive governments failed to pay the outstanding institutional water bills submitted by the Small Towns Water Systems to date, after several requests and appeals.
It is as a result of this, that the Association is serving notice it will no longer offer its services to the government with regards to the free water directive, until it pays its debt to the Association’s members.
Source: The Herald
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