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General News of Friday, 16 November 2001

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Ghana Water Company owes about 2.6 trillion

The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) owes 400 million dollars (about 2.6 trillion cedis) in the purchase of chemicals for the treatment of water for consumption.

This debt came about as a result of mismanagement and waste in the system, poor service quality, low cost recovery, inadequate maintenance and deteriorating of GWCL equipment.

Mr Emmanuel Nkrumah, Water Engineer of the Water Restructuring Secretariat of GWCL, announced this when he briefed the Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Council meeting at Koforidua on Wednesday.

He said the President John Agyekum Kufuors's statement on forging public/private partnership in Ghana's urban water supply would improve efficiency in the work of GWCL and bring investors into the water sector as a means of solving the company's problems.

He said in restructuring the water sector there would be the need to increase access to water supply, ensure sustainability of the supply, achieve cost recovery through efficient operation and the improvement of water sector management.

Mr Nkrumah said the proposal for Private Sector Participation (PSP) would not increase water tariffs but would rather help to bring efficiency into the sector, adding that performance targets would be set by GWCL and the private partners would only benefit based on their performance.

He said under the restructuring programme some of the workers would be retrenched but they could be assisted to form companies and work in the sector.