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Sierra Leone News: Water Resources Minister assures EWRC support

Utility providers are often monopolies’ of essential services, thus there is a need for a regulatory framework and political support that would protect both the providers and subscribers of these services.
The Minister of Water Resources, Jonathan Tengbe, on Tuesday 6 June 2018, assured the Sierra Leone Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission (SLEWRC) of his Ministry’s support.
He explained that though the effective provision of water supply is a social service, however, government couldn’t continue to subsidize it because the government inherited a heavily indebted economy.
Minister Tengbe explained that the government’s ‘new direction’ approach is “…to reverse our decline economy.” Noting, “…that is why we need to move from loans to private partnership.”
The advised the Commission that in as much as they are regulating water utility providers, they must ensure that quality service is always available because “we don’t want a situation where people are asked to pay for a service that is not available.”
The Acting Director General, Salieu Barrie, said the EWRC is on track. He pointed out that for a private partnership to succeed investors need ‘confidence’ “they need to know that things are in place before coming in to invest.”
He explained that commission’s regulatory drive is in line with the new direction by improving adequate and effective access to water, which has a domino’s effect to national development.
He also threw light on a nationwide outreach to the 14 districts the commission would be embarking on to sensitize communities about the need to pay for these utilities.
Addressing the Minister, SLEWRC Head of Water, Michael M. Kargbo, explained that with the support of MCC, the EWRC has developed a 5-year organisational development plan (ODP) with seven strategic goals to ensure effective delivery of the mandate of the Commission.
Speaking about the EWRC achievements he pointed out that tariff was approved for the water utilities. He also said the commission has drafted lost of regulations which includes Quality of Supply Regulations, Consumer Quality of Supply Regulations, Conduct of Business Regulations; Tariff Guideline and Operational Water Code, Plumbing Contractors, Professionals, and Dealers Certification Rules and Packaged Water Regulations.
“We are also aware and will support the construction of a new water reservoir for Freetown and its immediate environs will improve access and reliability of supply.”
He further emphasized that through regulations “we can also provide guidelines and Key Performance Indexes that will cater for the Rehabilitation of water distribution network in Freetown and the construction of stand pipes in deprived communities will also expand access.”
OG/6/6/18
By Ophaniel Gooding
Thursday June 07, 2018.

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