Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Parliament, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu has described as unacceptable government’s failure to settle a GHS2.5-million debt owed the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) for the past 10 years.
According to the 2011 report of the Auditor General, government asked GWCL to pre-finance four projects in the country, but failed to reimburse the service provider as agreed by the two parties.
Speaking before the committee on Tuesday June 28, Managing Director of GWCL, Fred Christian Lokko said the company has sent reminders to government to pay debts owed them, but that has not generated any positive result.
“We have a series of letters and reminders. The last one, I will say was last year 2015, so we keep reminding government …we are hopeful of getting the money. It is part of a bigger picture. If you take monies that government owes us for water consumed, that is major and it’s something that we are still holding discussions with government over, so it is part of it and that is how come we are not in a position to write anything off because it is part of the bigger picture”, he stated.
But Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Sampson Ahi explained that they were waiting for resources from the Finance Ministry to defray the cost.
“The figure quoted by the honourable colleague is made up of four main components of projects that the company undertook. One was water expansion project in Burma camp and then crop compensation at project sites such as the Koforidua water expansion project, and the Asuakyere water expansion project. Also, land compensation to landlords, whose lands were acquired for those projects and counterpart funding on the urban water project. We incurred these expenses because the government of Ghana was to pay on behalf of the company, but because the funding was not forthcoming, Ghana Water Company intervened and paid. We have since been writing to the Ministry of Finance for reimbursement”, Mr Ahi noted.
But Chairman of PAC, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu expressed his dissatisfaction with the answers provided by government and charged state institutions to stop treating government with kid gloves.
“If Atta Akyea should owe you GHS1.7million and he is not paying, what harm is he doing to your cash flow? Because government is our owner, all of us from electricity to water to everybody we are pampering government. And the same government turns round and tells you that your management is inefficient, so, we should privatise you. We have to be bold a little bit. If you go and say government pay me my money that one is no crime, but if I owe you and you don’t prompt me, I won’t pay”, he said.
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