SIERRA LEONE: VP Jalloh Launches Western Area WASH Master Plan
By Stephen V. Lansana
The Hon. Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has on Thursday December 8, 2022 launched the Western Area WASH Master Plan at the New Brookfields Hotel, Jomo Kenyatta Road in Freetown.
The launching, which took place during the Wash Sector Investment Forum, brought together senior government officials, donor partners and other stakeholders in the WASH Sector. It was organised by the Government of Sierra Leone in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Water Facility and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency with the theme: “Wash Sector Investment Forum with Improving Safe Clean Water Supply and Sanitation in the Western Area.”
In his keynote address, VP Jalloh said that the Wash Sector Investment Forum is timely and important as it is directly linked to the effort of government in transforming the water sector, particularly giving the number of challenges facing the sector; ranging from geography, finance, as well as man-made challenges.
He said that the provision of water and affordable water supply is at the core of Sierra Leone’s human development plan and in the sub-Sahara Africa, noting that it is also essential in achieving goal six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); which is providing safe drinking water by 2030 which resonate to our Medium Term Development Term. “You will agree with me if there is one word that resonates with our development aspiration in this country is human capital development, which is the vision of His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio,” he said, adding that, “at the core of that vision, is our effort to transform this sector.”
He added that the water sector is critical in transforming the country’s economy and added that as a government; “Our focus therefore is to progressively increase water access by 2030, noting that water supply requires an improved sanitation and hygiene.
He said that the provision of good water supply requires good water supply infrastructure and sounds operations and management of the facilities. “In spite of these challenges, as a country, since 2018, we have made considerable progress in the water sector: we have undertaken progressive government and institutional reforms to boost the standards, for instance, we have established through the USD$44m grant from MCC the Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission so as to regulate water and electricity in the country,” he said.
Giving the overview of the Water Sector and the Wash Master Plan, the Minister of Water Resources, Hon. Philip K. Lansana said that the government’s strategic plan in increasing water in the Western Area includes this Master Plan.
Minister Lansana said that the government’s Medium Term development agency is built on eight strategic drivers including water and sanitation with special focus on increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene, noting that the government is very passionate about increasing water in the Western Area.
He said that the government strategic action towards increasing access to water particularly in the Western Area includes the implementation of the Western Area WASH Master Plan and investment studies and projects, noting that the Freetown WASH Master Plan seeks to provide long term and medium term investment to incrementally meet the water and sanitation needs of the people whilst the Freetown WASH project aims to improve the environmental conditions of urban and semi urban people and to improve WASH infrastructural services.
He pointed out that the Master Plan seeks to increase 15 percent of access to water supply and seven (7) percent increase to access to improved sanitation in Sierra Leone. “The government through grants assistant from the Africa Water Facility and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency secures the needed financing amounting to 2.973million Euro to the concluded Master Plan and Investment study project,” the Minister said, disclosing that the revenue of Guma Valley Water Company has increased drastically.
He added that the New Direction taken by President Julius Maada Bio is working hard towards achieving goal six of SDGs.
The Bank Director, Water Development and Sanitation Department of AfDB Mr. Osward Chanda Mulenga assured the Government of Sierra Leone that the AfDB was ready to mobilize additional resources in addressing water and sanitation in the country, pointing out that they would talk to other partners to support the country.