Date posted: 6th Sept 2011
Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, a professor of governance at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) is advocating the relocation of the sanitation and hygiene subsectors of WASH to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH).
“Water, sanitation and environmental hygiene are so closely related that they are best treated as a single sector. The common thread running through them is water. Lack of or too little water causes the sanitation and environmental hygiene problems. Water is therefore the cause of the problem; the others are merely symptoms.
“It is therefore necessary to treat the cause by making the entire sector the responsibility of the agency responsible for water which to me would be the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH),” Prof Ahwoi suggested.
He was delivering the theme address at the opening of the ongoing Third Ghana Water Forum (GWF-3). This year’s forum is on the theme “Water and Sanitation Services Delivery in a Rapidly Changing Urban Environment”.
Currently, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is responsible for environmental health and sanitation. But earlier, Prof Ahwoi had argued on another platform that the MLGRD should be scrapped as a line ministry.
He clarified that his suggestion was not meant to give the MWRWH absolute responsibility for every activity pertaining to WASH. “Within the framework of these proposals, and consistent with my proposal elsewhere that local government should not continue to be a line Ministry, policy responsibility for water, sanitation environmental health would be the responsibility of the MWRWH; training of environmental health personnel would be the responsibility of the MOH [Ministry of Health]; but the provision of water and the implementation of sanitation and environmental health policies would be the decentralized responsibility of the MMDAs [Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies].”
Justifying his proposal, he identified that some of the problems facing the WASH sector were due to the segmentation of the sector as is the case presently.
Drawing on experience from the health sector he said: “After all, the Ghana Medical School which trains our doctors is under the Ministry of Education, but the doctors who are the products of the school are under the MOH.”
Prof Ahwoi also blamed urban water service delivery to the Ghana Water Company Limited’s monopoly. In this regard, he called for a separation of responsibility for water production, transmission and distribution among different stakeholders as is the case in the power sector where the Volta River Authority is responsible for the production of power but the responsibility for transmission and distribution lies with the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).