|Dr. Kwaku Agyeman Mensah|
As part of efforts to meet its Strategic Investment Plan by 2025, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) through the support of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing has signed various contracts with international corporations to rehabilitate and expand most of the water systems in the Northern Region.
Sector Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyeman Mensah, who revealed this during his recent visit to the Northern Region, said the GWCL and the government had contracted a loan facility of US$189 million for the Tamale Water Rehabilitation and Expansion Project.
Additionally, he said another US$30 million had been contracted for the rehabilitation and expansion of the Yendi Water Supply System, US$19 million for the Damongo Water Supply System as well as Bole, Salaga and Buipe Water Supply Systems.
The Minister assured GWCL workers of government’s commitment to provide the necessary support for them to deliver efficiently. He urged management of the company to continue to adopt innovative ways of collecting bills to enhance their service delivery to existing and new customers.
Managing Director of the GWCL Fred Lokko who accompanied the Minister also announced that by the beginning of August 2015, the company would introduce prepaid meters to all its customers nationwide.
The policy, he explained, was intended to enable the GWCL check illegal connections and non-payment of bills which had become a bane on its revenue mobilisation effort. Mr. Lokko said the refusal of customers to pay bills was making it impossible for the company to maintain, rehabilitate and expand its machines in order to meet the demands of existing and new customers.
According to him, the company over the years struggled to collect bills from customers after providing them water. Adding, he observed that most customers were comfortably enjoying the services of the company, but felt reluctant to pay their bills.
About 50 percent of treated water produced by the GWCL is unaccounted due to non-payment of bills, illegal connection and incessant leakages mostly caused by high water pressure and construction activities of contractors or private citizens. When it is eventually rolled out across the country, the prepaid water metering system would ensure that customers pay before consuming water and not the vice versa. “It is going to be pay and consume” instead of “consume and pay later”, Mr. Lokko pointed out.
He regretted that the prepaid meters were introduced on pilot basis in one of the regions some years ago but it met some opposition from the public. But this time round, he said customers would have no option than to embrace the policy in order to save the company from dying.