The government spent about GH¢896,291,330.72 to provide free water to the citizenry, as part of the mitigating strategies for the management of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic last year, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has announced.
Out of the amount, the Ministry of Finance has so far disbursed more than GH¢500 million to the various water companies to pay for the services they rendered and it is in the process of dealing with the rest.
“I am proud to say that it is only President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who as part of dealing with the COVID-19, provided free water to his people and this has earned him the world acclaim,” she said.
Ms Dapaah who disclosed this at a media briefing in Accra yesterday said the President must be applauded for his empathy of supplying free water to his citizenry for 15 months.
She said the government was working to improve the water and sanitation situation in the country online with the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Minister noted that a number of projects had been initiated and completed under the Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Projects.
She said a total of 23 small town pipe water systems within 11regions had already been completed and serving a population of 325,000 people.
“The highlight of the project is the introduction of the smart metre system and top-ins that allow people to access water services at anytime as long as the system is running and the individuals have credit,” she said.
Ms Dapaah noted that, another innovation was the introduction of solar pumps at Nalerigu to reduce operational cost, stressing that “As we speak we have operational systems which we are indebted to the tune of GH¢40million in the rural areas and small towns and this will make sure we save cost.”
Touching on sanitation, she said under the GAMA SUP project, improved toilet facilities had been constructed to serve 275,000 people in communities in the urban areas.
She said a pilot waste-to-energy project was currently ongoing at Atwima in the Ashanti Region.
“This project would seek to generate about 40mega watts of power and it would be replicated across the country once it proved successful,” she added.
Ms Dapaah said a number of piled up refuse which had been in existence for years had been evacuated, adding that “The government is reengineering two landfill sites at Kpone in the Greater Accra and Oti in the Ashanti Region.”
BY CLIFF EKUFUL