Thursday, February 18, 2010
NGO calls for abrogation of AVRL Contract
Accra, Feb. 18, GNA - Following recent water shortages that hit parts of Accra Metropolis, the National Coalition Against Privatization of Water (NCAP), on Wednesday called on government to abrogate the water management contract with Aqua Vitens Rand Limited (AVRL).
It said the company had failed to deliver the projected outcomes of the contract. Mr Alhassan Adam, a member of NCAP, who addressed the media in Accra, said access, quality and reliability indicators in the water sector had suffered woeful decline since the signing of the AVRL management contract
and that "it is important to cut our losses by taking steps to abrogate the contract".
He said the failure of the World Bank-sponsored urban water reforms in the country presented an urgent solution to potable water delivery to Ghanaians. Mr Adam said that since the AVRL contract commenced, tariffs had shot up by as much as 67 per cent, which had not translated into improved service delivery.
He noted that the recent water crisis exposed the lack of technical capacity on the part of AVRL, raising doubts about the qualifications, experience and competence of its consultants in urban water management.
"As we speak, they have tabled proposal for further tariff increases... Sadly, these increases have not translated into improved service delivery.. "It is pretty obvious that, we are witnessing a trend that is fast moving towards the worst we can ever imagine". "We are beginning to realize the extent to which we as a country have so cheaply and unreasonably exposed an important resource sector of ours to be toyed with by private foreign profit seekers," Mr Adams said. He said that the recent water crisis was inevitable because AVRL had had cause to comment on the state of the low lift pumps at the country's two major water headworks at Wieja and Kpong.
"We are appalled at the surprise being feigned by AVRL as though this situation came about without any notice. For us this recent crisis has exposed a lack of technical capacity on the part of AVRL," he said. Mr Adams noted, however, that the problem facing urban water delivery in the country had nothing to do with management but with investment. "The World Bank and Government of Ghana have therefore got it all wrong by proposing a management solution to an investment problem," he added. "We challenge President John Evans Atta Mills to honour his words when he said unequivocally at the IEA Presidential Debate that he does not believe in water privatization". The NCAP thus called for a national dialogue to chart a new path for water delivery in Ghana.
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