— Sanitation Minister
The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda has stated that the Government was on course with various sanitation initiatives that have been introduced across the country and various resources were being contracted to provide the infrastructure needed to enable the country improve its rating in the area of sanitation. “It’s been reported in many circles that we have done quite well in water, even though we have not reached the level of universal access for all yet, we are not doing too well in the area of sanitation, particularly wide spread open defecation in urban and rural areas,” Mr. Kofi Adda explained.
Progress towards the achievement of the target for sanitation (15% WHO/UNICEF JMP 2015) remains behind and thus adversely affects other SDG targets. It is for this reason that Government and WASH sector stakeholders are making concerted efforts to reverse the trend.
According to the Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, there was the urgent need for enforcement of sanitation laws, but the enforcement will be preceded by the provision of infrastructure. He said the enforcement would require all Ghanaians to try and do as much they can to be each other’s keeper by refraining from defecating openly and indiscriminate disposal of waste.
Speaking with the media in Accra on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ dialogue session organized by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) Mr. Kofi Adda said there would be policy designs by Government to guide how waste was treated and disposed in the country, emphasizing that, if there was the need for more waste disposal and treatment sites that would become the policy across the entire nation.
“How we treat the waste by way of converting it to energy, if that is something feasible as its being proposed by many, is something that we should definitely do,” Mr. Kofi Adda added.
On converting waste into compost for agriculture, Mr. Adda said the government was making it a priority and would create the enabling environment for the private sector to invest in those areas. The Sanitation and Water Resources Minister said those were all the policies which encompassed that general vision the government had to improve the sanitation situation in the country.
He said the government had found it necessary to address the challenges that confronted the WASH sector much effectively and that was why the government thought it was important to give focus to that effort through the creation of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and promised the government’s resolve to commit more resources to water and sanitation.
To give impetus to the WASH sector, Mr. Kofi Adda said the government first and foremost decided to create the institutional arrangement that were required and backed by law to create a ministry that was comparable to what existed in other countries to be able to formulate policies and design programmes of budget that would be effective in the delivery of the required WASH services.
According to Mr. Adda, all the recommendations that had been made at the end of the stakeholders dialogue session organized by CONIWAS were squarely in line with the vision of the ministry and very soon, the ministry would meet with the stakeholders in the WASH sector to deliberate further and see how best those recommendations would be implemented.
He commended CONIWAS for organizing the dialogue emphasizing “It’s just not us here alone, MPs, Ministers and staff are excited about what you are doing and this is the chance for us to ensure that we get the best results for this country.”
For his part, the Country Director of World Vision Ghana, Mr. Dickens Thunde, said the issues of WASH was critical to Ghana as they were to most part of the African continent. He said World Vision Ghana was particularly concerned about the sanitation situation in most parts of the country where they were operating.
According to Mr. Thunde, inasmuch as WASH sector actors were working very hard at the hardware aspect of water to improve access to water, there was still an uphill puzzle in the area of sanitation that needed concerted efforts to tackle and therefore commended the government for creating a ministry that recognised sanitation in a very significant way. “So my hopes are that, brand new as I am and the government is also brand new and Honorable Minister is also championing a brand new ministry, we have hope for the future,” Mr. Thunde stressed.