Amidst gains that the Liberian Government says it has made in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector of the country, donors funding the sector say they are disappointed in the level of progress.
They claim that the Liberian Government is not prioritizing the WASH sector all, this they said is evidenced by insignificant allocation to the sector in the National Budget.
Allotting 0.4 percent of the National Budget, according to the Country Representative of the African Development Bank, Margaret Kilo, is a clear indication that government is not making WASH as a cardinal part on its agenda.
Speaking Thursday (May 1, 2014) on behalf of donors at the start of the 2nd Joint Sector Review of the WASH sector of Liberia in Monrovia, Madam Kilo noted that government should graduate from the level of “business as usual” in addressing WASH issues.
She wants government approach WASH issues through the construction of modern WASH facilities for its citizens, and ensures that all Liberians and foreign residents have access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and better WASH facilities across the country through appropriate budgetary allocation.
The African Development Bank Country Representative identified fragmentation, poor sector reporting and leadership in the WASH Sector as challenges still affecting progress in the sector.
She however commended government for the formation of the National Water Resource and Sanitation Board by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, but pointed out that there is a serious need by government to create Water Supply and Sanitation Commission and the Rural Water Supply Bureau.
Also speaking, Assistant Public Works Minister for Community Services, George Yarngo described Madam Kilo’s statement as “positive”, intended to strengthen government’s effort.
Minister Yarngo indicated that the Joint Sector Review was also intended for criticisms that will lead to a level of improvement in WASH sector’s activities.
He said the Joint Sector Review (JSR), unlike the one of 2012, is been enriched by a Sector Performance Report that will enable donors and government to critique.
The JSR among other things is discussing several thematic areas ranging from Finance, Urban Water & Sanitation, Rural Water Access, Water Resources & Drinking Water Quality, and Solid Waste Management.
Statistics of 2013 shows that more that 300,000 Liberians lack access to safe drinking water, while the Liberian Government was losing over US$17 million to poor sanitation alone.