Friday, January 06, 2006

Water, Water, Nowhere! (World Cup arrives in Ghana!)

I woke up yesterday to a horrible reality that the water in my tank had run out. I took it in my stride. The next best thing would just be to go buy pure water (sachet) and use that to do the things I needed to do. I was praying that it would be a temporary situation--and thank God, it was!

But to say nothing of the frustration that I felt just to see that only drops--yes drops! -- of water were dripping down into the bucket made me saw the proverbial red. Hearing on the news that the water company, Ghana Water Comany Limited (GWCL), had caused a considerable amount of confusion in many other parts of Accra, because of an apparent fault in the system outside Accra, near a place called Weija, did nothing to my rising frustration.

Ghana Water Company expects us to pay water bills every month--as you do--yet are not willing to fulfill their social contract by providing sufficient water to people. To boot, they have the audacity to go round publishing in the papers that they will conduct mass disconnection exercises.

Reports on the news (ofcourse it had to be CITI FM's Breakfast Show with Bernard Avle) indicated that as far away as Teshie-Nungua, people's water was so scant in distribution, as it were, that people were compelled either to travel very far (expensive travelling) to go fetch water, or use pure water. The problem with this is that it is expensive on both counts.

The other side of the coin, and one which I very much espouse, is that in the wake of the November decision to bring in the very dodgy South African company, as well as a Dutch company to ostensibly manage Ghana's water and (effective privatisation), earn salaries in excess of 10 million euros for the management, speaks volumes of something rather monstrous that is afoot: forcing Ghanaians to believe that an inefficiency in the water company is so grave and acute that privatisation is justified!!

News yesterday on TV3 news indicated that CAMEROON has privatised its water.

RandWater Vitens win bid for Ghana Water Company Limited
Credit: Saint Doe Tamakloe (CITI NEWS)

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

Government has announced that it would sign a technical agreement with the two bidders for the management of the Ghana Water Company Limited, Randwater of South Africa and Vitens of Holland who have put in a joint bid for the management of the company.

Minister for Works and Housing, Hon. Hackman Owusu Agyeman made this revelation when he took his turn at the meet the press series in Accra on Tuesday.

Mr. Owusu Agyemang said that the 10million Euro contract is approved by the World Bank and expressed the hope that it would bring some managerial expertise to the National Utilities provider.

As per the arrangement for the management takeover of the Ghana Water Company Limited, about six hundred workers were billed to be laid off which formed part of the campaign against the move by the coalition against the privatization of water.

However, Mr. Owusu Agyeman revealed that contrary to the earlier reservations about the repercussions of the lay offs, about 1500 employees of the company agreed to voluntarily leave the water company and explained that the this was due to the professional manner in which the situation was handled.

It is however expected that the Coalition against the Privatization of Water led by firebrand advocate, Mr. Gyekye Tandoh of the Third World Network, would hold a press briefing to indicate their position on this new development and their next line of action.


Some good news is that the World Cup is in the country, with Ghana being one of the priviledged first countries to see it.

On the water front, the problem is far from resolved; many people remain still without water, with accounts of people having to travel as far as Paloma (in the centre of the capital) before obtaining some.

Now ask yourself whether this is not a sleight-of-hand by the water company to force privatisation on denizens?
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