Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 February 2020:
The Deputy Manager of Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) Francis Lahai, told journalists in Freetown last Friday, that the company needs about one billion dollars to achieve its target of adequately supplying clean drinking water across the capital.
Speaking from his Guma Headquarters in Freetown, Mr. Lahai said that Guma Valley was created initially to provide access to clean drinking water for about six hundred thousand people living in Freetown. But this demand has over the last few decades grown to over two million.
This rising demand, he said, has become a huge challenge for Guma Valley Water Company and its staff who are under immense pressure to deliver access to water across the city uninterrupted.
In responding to this challenge, he said that several water sources have been identified but developing them will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mr. Lahai informed pressmen that Guma Valley has made lots of reforms under the current management. His staff, he said are now motivated to work than ever before.
But questioned as to why at such financially challenged time for the country and the government, Guma Valley Water Company could find the cash to purchase an expensive, luxurious 4×4 vehicles for senior management, Mr. Lahai said that each of the five operational vehicles costs US$46,200 and the SUV costs $75,000.
He said that Guma Valley Water Company has not updated its fleet in the last ten years, A lot of money he said has been spent on repairing the old fleet.
Asked whether he has breached procurement rules, he said that he has complied with every procedure laid down by the National Public Procurement Authority, and the National Commission for Privatization, and there was no breach.
But he said that Guma is yet to fully pay the contractor for the vehicles purchased.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lahai admonish customers to pay their water bills – and promptly, so as to guarantee access to clean and uninterrupted water supply.
You think the APC could have done better? You guys ruled for 10 years last time I checked. Please spare us the crocodile tears. I’m not a political geek, but it seems everytime we read your comments on this forum, it’s doomsday scenario you portray. Where was your righteous indignation when Ebola money and mass corruption was being undertaken by the previous government.
Are you watching or Listening to the COI? Some of us grew up in SL in the 80″s and we know how your favorite party sowed the seeds of corruption under Siaka Stevens which led the country to it’s current state. We suffered. If you’re not connected, you are doomed. Some of us were lucky to get out.
Youth unemployment in SL is nothing new as an example. So please when you try to sell the APC as the party that should have done more for the people, remember that the APC ruled SL the longest compared to other parties, if I’m not mistaken. Ask the people of SL if they’re better for it? As a peace loving Sierra Leonean which I guess you are, let’s pray for the country and it’s current rulers to deliver for our people – times are difficult for them.
It took a long time for the country to find itself in this predicament, it won’t take 2 years for the decay to be cleaned. Its not an easy task as some of you want to believe. let’s stop the name calling and let’s all come together to help build a better SL. This begins by changing our mentality. To quote president Kennedy “Don’t ask what your country could do for you but what can you do for your country”.
The Government of Sierra Leone is not looking for Money to build that Bridge, it is looking for an Investor through bidding. It is as simple as that. If the country could get an Investor to take over the Guma Valley Water Company, would be best. This Investor will then subsequently introduce Meters to collect Water rates, etc as Mr. Bah is saying. And that is exactly the reason why the Co. is requesting $1 Billion to improve access to Water. It is not the Government of S.L. that will provide that Money. The Govt. is not a Company or Trust.
I have mentioned it several times. Since the war, Freetown has become overcrowded and it will further grow, if the governments make no stronger efforts of de-centralization for living, job development and also government institutions, courts etc..
One other point: Sierra Leone has always had a heavy rainy season. Are there not enough possibilities and construction ideas to collect and store the rain water?
Prototypes of Rain Water Harvesting models have already been made and tested. The project itself will start in 2023 when the APC takes over. Don’t worry Mr. Reinhard Weicha. You will see the start of Made In Sierra Leone by Sierra Leonean innovators, Academics, Engineers and Scientists in 2023, when the APC takes over to clear the excellent mess we are now in. It’s going to start right in Kono City and later spread countrywide. Easy.
They talk about empty Billions of dollars bridge investors and investment, and I say, common sense development projects in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Again, Rain Water Harvesting will come to past in 2023. That I will guarantee you Mr Reinhard Weicha. God bless you Mr. Reinhard Weicha and our Sierra Leonean innovators. God bless Made In Sierra Leone.
“Listen,the amount of water available for distribution is not the problem, but the numbers of people demanding access to it. Reduce the population in Freetown,and water would be more than enough for everyone. Makes sense doesn’t it? Surely,It will be hard work,demanding of great skill but with firm resolve it can be done….”- Saidu Conteh
What is the population of Freetown? About 1.8M according to the 2015 census. I am currently in Arusha Tanzania. It is the 5th largest city in the United Republic of Tanzania. The Population is 1.6M people according to their 2016 census. Like Freetown, Arusha depends on the hills and mountains for its source of water. However, they have regular supply of water. Do you know why? The residents pay for their water. Every household, school, hospital, government office and even car wash garages have water meters. The people pay their monthly bill by M-pesa, which is a mobile money transfer mechanism used in both Tanzania and Kenya. It is effective. No body cheats the water company. The water company therefore has the capacity and funds to meet its obligation.
Now, compare this with Freetown where people think water should be free and unregulated. People cut and reconnect Guma pipes as if it is their personal property. In Arusha only Authorized TENESCO workers are authorized to touch the water pipes. Private plumbers can work on your pipe after the meter in your compound. It is a punishable offence to tamper with Public water pipes.
When we talk we have to the walk, if we want Salone for betteh.
“People cut and reconnect Guma pipes as if it is their personal property.” This could be one of the main reasons why people are reluctant about paying their water bill. A law that forbids such act needs to be enacted and enforced to counter this inappropriate behavior. Though I have a remarkable doubt that the latter will propel, necessarily, at least not any time soon.
Enforcing laws in Sierra Leone is tantamount to saying Bio is physically trim – it doesn’t exist. The Police officers in Sierra Leone are some of the most undisciplined public servants that I’ve ever met in my life. Those guys are usually more worried about chipping people off of their money than actually doing their job. Useless eaters.
Guma needs 1 billion dollars to provide access to safe drinking water,and yet this inadequate SLPP government is desperately looking for 2 billion dollars to build an unnecessary Lungi bridge.(lol) I have always maintained,that their priorities are not in order. The citizens of Sierra Leone who reluctantly voted for change,and a New direction,are now languishing in deep sorrow,and continual regret,whispering daily to themselves,the words. “Had I known,I was voting for a crooked,incompetent bunch of masqueraders,I would have given my vote to the APC instead.” (lol) Too late for sadness,and regret now,with your own hands you planted those unfruitful seeds,now those same hands will have to reap only the nothingness,and barrenness you have gullibly,already sown.
The city of Freetown is overcrowded,and desperately in need of restructuring.Asking for a billion dollars for enhancing access to clean drinking water,shouldn’t be Guma’s main goal,and objective,but how to get many people to be sensibly relocated by government to other surrounding areas,with an abundance of safe,natural,drinking water sources. Seriously,
one billion dollars is hard to come by,and if we can find it,why not use it wisely,by building massive,sprawling structures of affordable housing units for the poorest of the poor among us instead.
Listen,the amount of water available for distribution is not the problem, but the numbers of people demanding access to it. Reduce the population in Freetown,and water would be more than enough for everyone. Makes sense doesn’t it? Surely,It will be hard work,demanding of great skill but with firm resolve it can be done….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.