Parliament Okays $125m Sanitation Loan

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Parliament has approved a $125-million loan agreement between the government and the World Bank as additional financing for the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GSWP).

The project is expected to provide access to improved sanitation for about 252,000 residents of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA).

It will help in the construction of 42,000 household lavatories — 30,000 in the GKMA and 12,000 in the GAMA.

Each eligible household will be provided with 70 per cent support up to a maximum of $600 (about GH¢3,500) to make the capital cost of the toilet affordable to it.

The project, which will be completed within four years after commencement, will also help in the improvement and expansion of waste water and faecal sludge collection, transportation and treatment.

The agreement was presented to the House by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on behalf of the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, yesterday, and the Speaker referred it to the Finance Committee for consideration and report.

Report

Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, told the House that the project was consistent with the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (CPESDP) 2017-2024.

He said the proposed interventions were fully aligned with the government’s objective of improving access to water and sanitation services for all through improved water production and distribution and scaling up investments in the sanitation sector.

It would also see to the establishment of a National Sanitation Fund and implement the “Toilet For All ” and the “Water For All” programmes under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), among other interventions, all in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Goal Six.

Key achievements

The chairman said key achievements of the original project, as of July 2020, included inclusive and affordable household toilets, the provision of over 27,000 household toilets, exceeding the target of 19,100 and benefiting about 218,000 people, and the provision of water supply for low-income communities.

“The project laid about 281 km of water pipelines, 10,200 new connections and 114 standpipes, providing access to water supply for 367,000 people in low-income urban communities, exceeding the targeted 250,000 people, inclusive of gender-conscious school sanitation facilities.

“It also implemented disability-friendly school toilets, with separate blocks for boys and girls, 386 of the targeted 406 units having been completed and handed over,” he said.

Backlog of applicants

Dr Assibey-Yeboah said in spite of the significant progress made, about 8,000 households which registered for toilets, 7,500 applicants for water supply services and 150 targeted schools could not be served due to budgetary constraints on the parent project.

“It is in this respect that the government is securing this additional funding to extend and expand the project to ensure that the outstanding beneficiaries are served,” he told the House.

He indicated that the additional financing would enable the project interventions to be scaled-up in the GAMA to cover more low-income communities and replicate the gains of the project in the GKMA, the second most populated city in the country.

Tax waivers

The House also approved the request for waivers of taxes and duties on materials, equipment and services to bolster transport infrastructure and Technical and Vocational Education and Training centres of excellence in the country.

The first involved the waiver of import duties and levies of $1.12 million for the China Gansu International Corporation for Economic and Technical Cooperation and $726,341 for the China Railway Major Bridge.

Another was a waiver on materials, equipment and works to be procured for the implementation of the Accra Intelligent Traffic Management System (AITMS) project under the tranche ‘B’ facility agreement between the government and the China Development Bank (CDB).

The purpose of the AITMS project is to improve transport infrastructure and reduce traffic congestion in the Greater Accra area and widen the La Beach road, the coastal and meridian roads, as well as the Teshie Link roads.

The second waiver of taxes and duties amounting to $10 million was on the materials, equipment and services to be procured for the construction of five TVET centres of excellence across the country.

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Source Author: Michael Ofori Amanfo Boateng