National Coalition Against Privatization of Water (NCAP) says it is putting its house in order to go to court if government attempts to renew the five year contract of Aqua Vitens Rand Limited (AVRAL).
In the interim, the coalition has forwarded valuable documents on the contract agreement on the operations of the company to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for investigations.
At a news conference in Accra yesterday, a member of the Coalition, Alhassan Adams said the recent water crisis in the Accra metropolis and parts of the country exposed the company’s inefficiencies.
He said in the estimation of the coalition, AVRL had performed woefully, especially with the attempt to invite experts from outside the country to deal with the recent problem at the Weija water treatment plant.
According to Mr. Adams, the initial attempt by the company to import experts from Netherlands or South Africa to deal with the problem was a complete abuse of integrity of Ghanaian engineers and technocrats who were capable to deliver.
He said for just a few people to salvage Ghanaians from the situation showed how well Ghanaian engineers could perform and what they could offer to society in times of crisis. Mr. Adams contended that the coalition kept hammering on the inefficiencies of AVRL over the years and that the earlier something was done about the company, the better it would be for the country.
He noted that the Ghana Water Company Limited had performed creditably over the years but the World Bank succeeded in twisting the hands of Ghanaians, particularly policy makers to give the contract to expatriates.
Mr. Adams said, “If government attempts to renew the contact, it will have itself to blame”, saying that one factor that contributed to the fall of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was its inability to listen to the cry of Ghanaians on the same contact agreement that society was not happy with.
He said a comparative analysis of the work vis-à-vis revenue mobilized by AVRL showed that AVRL had performed below average, alleging that tariff was increased to 67 per cent as against five per cent revenue collected over the years. “The tariff increase does not correspond with the revenue and again, they are calling for another tariff increase”.
He said 103 million dollars was invested into the operation by World Bank. Out of that amount, 11 million dollars was paid as salaries for the expatriates. Reading a statement on the position of the coalition, Ms. Ruby Kissiedu, Policy Analyst of the Integrated Social development Centre (ISODEC) said, “the failure on the urban water reforms in the country presents an urgent challenge for all Ghanaians to the search for a viable solution to potable water delivery in the country.
“But before we do that, it is important to cut our losses by taking immediate steps to abrogate the AVRL contract”. She said the agreement which sought to make potable water accessible and affordable to majority of the country’s population had failed woefully.
According to Ms Kissiedu, one of the key contracts had to do with reduction of non-revenue water by five per cent each year, “but as things stand now, it is 51.7 per cent, that is 11.7 higher than the target”.
Besides, there had only been two per cent increase in production, which was mainly due to expansion works at Dalum in Tamale, Sekyere Hemang and Bafiakrom in the Central Region. “It is pretty obvious that we are witnessing a trend that is fast moving towards the worst we can ever imagine. We are beginning to realize the extent to which we, as a country, have so cheaply and unreasonably exposed an important resource sector of ours to be toyed with the private foreign profit seekers”, she added.
Reacting to the accusation by the coalition, the Communications Manager of the Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area (ATMA) of AVRL, Nana Yaw Barima said he was not prepared to go into argument with the coalition and that this had been the tune of the coalition over the years. He said Ghanaians would be the better judges to compare of AVRL had performed over the years or not.
Replying to the coalition’s statement on the recent crisis at Weija, Nana Barima said the fact that the company was able to deal with the problem locally showed how prepared the company was to respond to challenges, adding that the initial attempt to bring experts from south Africa to solve the problem was like the medical field where doctors consult each other to deal with critical condition of human, just to save life.
Source: Ghanaian Times/Ghana
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