CONIMWAS wants budget allocation for WASH sector reviewed.
Sadly, the country, in its 2019 Budget, allocated GHS246 million, the dollar equivalent of US$50 million, and 13 per cent of the estimated required amount needed to wrestle challenges in the water and sanitation sector.
The 2019 budget has, therefore, been described as woefully inadequate to enable Ghana attain SDG 6 by the target year.
The fear of poor allocation to this sector also suggests that Ghana might not be able to meet SDG 6, as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) continues to receive dwindling distribution of funds to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
For instance, 2017 had GHS255 million, thus 0.3%, and 2018, GHS189 million, 0.3%, and 2019, GHS246 million, 0.1%.
Dissatisfied with the development, the Coalition of (non-governmental organisations) NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has issued a paper to protest against the Government of Ghana's (GoG) budget allocation to the WASH for the 2019 financial year.
The coalition, which comprises stakeholders in drinking water, liquid water management, environmental sanitation and hygiene, integrated water resource management in all domains, stated their position in Accra on Tuesday, this week.
CONIWAS argued that, 'government should re-consider the quantum of future allocation to the WASH sector, and ensure that they are made in relation to the SDG WASH financing requirements, and also reflective of current WASH challenges.'
CONIWAS, therefore, called on the government for an upward review of the 2019 budget allocation to the WASH sector.
Yaw Attah Arhin, Vice Chairman of CONIWAS, presenting the page at a media conference, indicated that the coalition's budget tracking report for 2018 (January to September) reveals low redemption rates of approved budget.
'A report from the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing shows that the total disbursements for the year 2018 was 45.16% (GHS382.92 million) of the total budget allocation of GHS3,183.63 million.
'Further, the total disbursement covered by GoG was about 13% of the total amount budgeted for 2018. This was GHS9,193,720.00 out of GHS71.0 million,' he worriedly stated.
According to him, observations made on the disbursements of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on specific budget items also suggest low redemption of GoG commitments to its allocations, thus:
GHS6.6 million, representing 72% of the allotted budget of GHS9.08 million, was disbursed with regards to compensation from the Government of Government, as well as a little over 58% of total budget for Goods and Services from the GoG was disbursed. This amounted to GHS943 million out of GHS1.61million.
Furthermore, less than 3% (2.740 o) of the total Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) from the GoG was disbursed to finance this expenditure, thus the amount was GHS1.65 million, out of GHS60 million. Note that this CAPEX allocation is largely to the urban water sector.
'GHS0.766 million of the amount budgeted from Internally Generated Funds (IGF) was disbursed, and this represented 35.07% of the total, which was GHS32.18 million, and from Development Partners GHS110.75 million was approved to finance goods and services and CAPEX. The total amount disbursed was GHS72.96 million, representing 65.87%,' he added.
To him, the inability of the government to allocate enough resources to address challenges in the WASH sector clearly shows the nation will continue to depend on donor aid, since they contribute 80% of investments into the area.
Mr Arhin continued that CONIWAS has resolved in its position and recommends that in future budgetary allocations, the GoG must channel all WASH budget allocations through the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR).
He added that it must also endeavour to establish the framework for partnerships with the development authorities, with the MSWR's leadership and coordination.
Naill Boot, WASH Specialist with UNICEF urged the group to consider championing equity in WASH delivery, liquid waste management, involves the role local assemblies and WASH schools and other facilities.