General News of Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Source: myjoyonline

Ghana Water Boss faces imprisonment if...

The Chief Executive of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Kwaku Botwe (In Picture), might find himself imprisoned, if he fails to deliver to meet public expectation.

The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) is backed by law, even if it wants to go to the extent of jailing the boss of the water company in a situation where the commission feels unsatisfied by GWCL’s performance.

The Public Relations Officer of PURC, Nana Yaa Jantuah, who disclosed this to Joy News, said the imprisonment is just one of the punitive measures the commission could adopt to sanction GWCL for failing to deliver.

She further noted, aside imprisoning the CEO of the water company, the commission can fine the company or refuse them tariff increment.

The commission on Tuesday summoned the GWCL to a crucial meeting over an earlier decision by the latter to ration water for the next six months in the Greater Accra region.

Acting Chairman of the Commission, Comrade Bonney said they would no longer tolerate their inefficiency and threatened to block further increment in tariff.

“If you begin to behave in this same manner, one of the things we can do is to deny you tariff [increment]. We want to punish you by denying you a tariff even though you are entitled to that. That is how you will see how serious the commission is."

Nana Yaa Jantuah maintained that the commission is determined to carry through its decision to deny them tariff. This, she said, should not be seen as an “empty threat”, since this would not be the first time it is adopting that measure. GWCL had been refused tariff twice: last year during the automatic adjustment tariff as well as two years ago, she said.

But Mr. Stanley Martey, communications manager for Ghana Urban Water Company Limited, indicated to Joy News that the company has no choice under the current circumstance but to ration water.

He explained that in the capital, for instance, three sources of treatment plants are producing an average of 100m gallons of water daily, but the company’s own research shows that demand is about 160million daily.

GWCL cannot be blamed if demand outstrip supply, he said, “If we all do not troop down to the city in search of, let say, greener pastures, we will have enough or adequate resources for everybody in this country. If you go to other regions we have other treatment plants that are underutilized because the population there is not enough.”

Notwithstanding that, he said, the company has been able to meet the requirement of the Ghana Standard Authority, whose criteria he said were far above that of the WHO, to deliver quality drinking water to consumers.

Meanwhile, he said the GWCL is doing all it can to ensure that the impact is not seriously felt.

He said about five experts have so far assessed the condition of the company’s filters and are expected to come out with their proposal after three weeks for evaluation so that the best one would be selected to construct new filters.

Admitting that rationing water would not stop entirely at anytime soon, he assured the public that after some projects have been completed, the company is expected to expand coverage to 90-95% by 2014.

However, the current rationing, he promised, would be solved “in about two months”.

Meanwhile, Nana Yaa Jantuah noted that the GWCL has been given up to Friday to find ways to mitigate the impact on its clients before the rationing starts.

She said GWCL has been ordered to also submit a time table on their mitigation process as well as communication plan to the public – if possible publishing it in the dailies.