Isaac Swen: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 May 2018:
The visiting Country Manager of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Peninsh Kariuki has held discussions with the Minister of Water Resources, Dr. Jonathan Tengbe and other senior officials in the water and sanitation sector.
Peninsh Kariuki trip to Sierra Leone was in line with the AfDB country portfolio, with specific focus on the Three-Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation – two key projects aimed at providing communities upcountry with clean water supply.
The discussions were centred on the impact the projects have made on the lives of people and communities, the challenges faced especially in the rural water supply sector, and how best they could be addressed, to make the project a success.
The Task Manager for the two projects, Rogers Lubunga in an overview, described the projects generally as successful.
He expressed delight at the provision of water to people in Bo, Kenema and Makeni, as a result of the successful implementation of especially the first phase of the Three Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project.
He used the opportunity to call on the Government and the Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO), to help provide more service connections for consumers, so that more people will have access to supplies.
Mr. Lubunga expressed hope that Government and SALWACO would initiate more motivational measures that would make service delivery more efficient and effective.
He also spoke about the Inter- Relations Management Component of the Rural Water and Sanitation Project, which involves Ministry of Water Resources officials, representatives of Councils from Koinadugu, Kono, Bonthe, Pujehun and Kambia, and how hundreds of thousands of people in those areas have benefitted from clean water supply.
He however pointed out how they have twice experienced the unsavoury situation of being unable to meet the disbursement target, a situation compounded more by the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone and the lack of capacity on the part of the local contractors hired by the Councils to construct the infrastructure component of the Project.
He praised SALWACO for having the capacity to handle the Project. AfDB Country Manager, Peninsh Kariuki stressed the importance of the Projects to the Bank, which could help determine the country’s portfolio and encouraged the Government to ensure the successful implementation of the projects.
The Minister of Water Resources, Dr. Jonathan Tengbeh in receiving the AfDB Team and SALWACO officials, spoke of Government’s commitment to support the water supply sector.
He said as a newly appointed Minister, he would look at both the successes and challenges faced by his Ministry.
This he further noted, prompted him to form a Team comprising Personnel from SALWACO, the Ministry itself and Guma Valley Water Company, to produce a report on all the projects including a 100 days Quick Win Plan, aimed at tackling some of the pressing problems affecting the Water and Sanitation Sector.
The Minister said he was pleased with the report, but however stated that being new he would have to look also at suggestions and recommendations by the AfDB Country Office.
Dr. Tengbe promised to work with the team in subsequent meetings for solutions on problems faced.
He spoke about President Julius Maada Bio’s New Direction Initiative, of which improving water supply in the country is an integral component.
SALWACO Director General, Samuel Bangura and team were also among those present during the discussions.