WASH stakeholders advocate for 4% budgetary allocation of GDP

The Alliance for WASH Advocacy (A4WA) and WaterAid Ghana, says the 2021 budget for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) should be at least four per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to close the current funding gap.

The civil society organisations (CSOs) at press conference in Accra said anything short of that, government might not be on its way to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) six, which says “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.

Madam Nora Ollennu, Convenor of A4WA, noted that the state of the WASH sector was promising with the creation of the new Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) in 2017, at the same time, the implementation of the National Sanitation Authority was yet to come to fruition.

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However, the sector had not received the needed state funding, and had been heavily funded by donors historically, with donors /development partners providing between seventy-five percent to eighty percent of total WASH budget, and Government financing only 20 to 25 per cent.

Madam Ollennu, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of Intervention Forum (IF), said the status of Ghana as a Lower Middle –Income Country, and Ghana Beyond Aid agenda of the present government, made it difficult for the sector to attract charity and grants for WASH projects by funding agencies and development partners.

She said conservative estimates indicated an annual funding requirement of $946 million a year to achieve Ghana SDG six by 2030, however, with current sector funding at $114 million a year, this leaves a significant annual funding gap of $832 million to achieve universal access.

Madam Ollennu said statistics pointed to the fact that government’s allocation to the WASH sector was small relative to the poor WASH situation in Ghana.

“What is even worrying is that actual releases to MWSR and its agencies to implement WASH related activities has been less than budgeted and hardly cross fifty percent of budgeted amount,” she added.

She cited an example, where in 2017, only forty per cent of budgeted amount was released, and only fifty-four percent released in 2018.

Madam Ollennu, who reiterated the need for government to show more commitment by providing more money and resources to the WASH sector, also called on the media to do annual tracking of the process in terms of implementation of those funds that were used.

She anticipated that “this will help to know whether we are getting closer in achieving the SDG six or the 2030 Agenda”.

George Yorke, Head of Policy Advocacy and Campaigns, WaterAid Ghana, noted that part of the recommendations towards achieving the SDG six, was that Open Defecation Free (ODF) campaigns should be intensified to ensure Ghana was ODF by end of 2025.

He said government should provide the Water Resources Commission with the necessary technical and financial support to monitor freshwater bodies and sanction culprits who violated laws on the preservation of water bodies.

Yorke also underscored the need for government to expedite action on establishing the National Sanitation Authority, and Fund for smooth implementation of sanitation related laws, policies and guidelines.

A4WA is a WASH Civil Society Organization advocating for improved WASH in Ghana.

It has more than 20 active members who deliver WASH services in poor and marginalized communities throughout Ghana.

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