Updated: Friday 10 February 2017

MMDAs Urged to Partner the Private Sector to Provide Efficient Sanitation Services to Poor Households

The changing financing landscape in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector makes it very imperative for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to open up the sanitation market and forge partnership with the private sector to provide efficient and low cost sanitation services to the citizenry especially the poor households, the Programme Manager of IRC Ghana, Mr. Kwame Asiedu Asubonteng has said.  He said this while contributing to a panel discussion on the topic “Advocacy for Innovative Financing,” at the 27TH edition of Mole Conference in Big Ada in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.

To give impetus to the MMDAs to prioritize sanitation, Mr. Asubonteng said the Sanitation Challenge was initiated to enable the Assemblies turn ideas into impact. He said Ghana Sanitation Challenge initiative is focusing on liquid waste. “In Ghana, our objective is to get the Assemblies to prioritize, and we have seen from where we started last year that, the Assemblies are really prioritizing sanitation by making sure it reflects in their plans and actions with corresponding proposed budgets lines included for implementation” he stressed.

The IRC Programme Manager, indicated for instance that, the Ministry of Finance have also designated budget lines for these sanitation plans. “So it is definitely going to happen that Assemblies will get funding for liquid waste management in their budgets for the first time, hitherto, all the sanitation budget allocations to the Assemblies were for solid waste management,” he emphasized. 

According to Mr. Asubonteng, one significant feature of the Sanitation Challenge being implemented is its ability to redirect the focus of the Assemblies to how to mobilize funding for sanitation activities beyond traditional Government sources. He appealed to Assemblies to take the lead role by creating the enabling environment for the private sector to do what it does best through latrine construction artisans and microfinance institutions. Mr. Asubonteng, however admitted that one of the challenges was how to get the Assemblies to perform their lead role and that was exactly what the Sanitation Challenge initiative was working assiduously to address.

Mr. Asubonteng explained that Assemblies were responsible for the sanitation market and latrine provision; and that the sanitation challenge arrangement provides partnership opportunity with the private sector and other institutions that can provide the financing and other technical and ancillary support. “So this is a change from the regime of Assemblies advertising for bids and tender to invite the private sector on board; with the initiative the doors are now opened and it is the private sector who are rushing to the Assemblies for partnership engagement” he further explained. Mr. Asubonteng said the Sanitation Challenge initiative was to forge inclusive partnership by bringing everybody on board to contribute to addressing the challenges in the sanitation sector. “So when you go to the Assemblies, especially the 17 implementing MMDAs, you will realize that there is private sector partners’ involvement; interestingly, unlike the traditional consultant engagement, the MMDAs together with partners collectively developed the LWM strategies during the first stage of the Sanitation Challenge. These designs, plans and strategies were done without the Assemblies paying any money to the private sector. The private sector did it because they look at the business opportunity at the end of the day and that is what the Sanitation Challenge seeks to foster,” Mr. Asubonteng explained.

Liquid waste management strategy implementation, the IRC Ghana Programme Manager indicated involved the sanitation value chain─ treatment plant construction, toilet provision and management.

The Sanitation Challenge is being implemented through a consortium of private partners together with NGOs and the MMDAs.

He expressed the hope that through the implementation of the Sanitation Challenge across the 17 MMDAs, lessons would be learnt regarding how to scale it up to other parts of the country.