The Chief Executive of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) Mr Clement Bugase, has stated that the Agency is now adopting integrated cost budgeting for its facilities to ensure their sustainability. This is a costing system that takes into consideration the various life cycle cost elements of providing sustainable WASH services.
CWSA is the governmental agency with the mandate to facilitate the provision of safe drinking water and related sanitation services to Rural Communities and Small Towns in Ghana.
The framework for costing WASH service delivery is based on the life cycle costing approach. Life-Cycle Costs (LCC) represent the aggregate costs of ensuring delivery of adequate, equitable and sustainable WASH services to a population in a specified area. These are Capital expenditure, Operation and maintenance expenditure, Capital maintenance expenditure,Cost of capital, Expenditure on Direct and Indirect Support Cost.
Mr Bugase , said this when the IRC Supervisory Board paid a courtesy call on him at the Head office of CWSA in Accra. The three-member IRC Supervisory Board team was in the country to have a first-hand experience of some IRC activities in the country and also officially open the IRC Ghana country office.
Mr Bugase, explaining the functions of the Agency to the board, said CWSA is government’s technical wing for ensuring the provision of safe water, improved sanitation (water related) and promotion of hygiene in rural communities and small towns and also acts as quality assurance and technical backstopping.
He expressed his appreciation to IRC for the support their projects in Ghana provides to the Agency. He explained the WASHCost Project, for example highlights the significance for proper costing of facilities and services to ensure sustainability.
He said, “many of us thought that the cost (of systems) was just what you deploy to bring the services into being and that’s it but they have been able to demonstrate (to us) that the cost is more inclusive than what we all see and therefore if you are planning a project you need to take into consideration all these cost and try to make allowance for them so that you can meet those costs to make the project sustainable”.
He added that this is beginning to have impact on the sector and especially on policy makers, a development he describes as very important step in achieving sustainability in the sector, so that “when we make request for such allocations, it will not be strange to the ministry of finance or our ministry or for that matter other government officials”.
Mr Bugase stated that there is a specific project which his outfit wants to mainstream properly to ensure sustainability. This is a World Bank project named “Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project” and it is being implemented through CWSA. He disclosed that his Agency is undertaking this World Bank project in six regions covering 65 districts and wants to start from day one “with the sustainability issues well grounded from beginning to the end to ensure sustainability (of the facilities)” .
Mr Bugase said, “In normal circumstances when we get support from our Development Partners either in the form of grants or loans to implement sub projects in the districts and the funding is over, the local governance structures were supposed to take over and maintain the facilities”. This is however not the case because the local government structures are not able to properly take over the proper management of the facilities due to lack of resources.
Victor Narteh Otum
DCO - WASHCost Project Ghana