President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has admitted that “the nation has not been adequately served when it comes to water,” in a brief remark at the start of a National Water Resource and Sanitation Board inaugural meeting in Monrovia.
Chairing a board meeting on Monday, June 22 at the Cabinet Room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Sirleaf said at some point she “like to know what percentages in terms of the number of persons served in the country,” and she “got figure of 40 something percent.”
The meeting was graced by relevant cabinet members that are playing roles in the water and sanitation sector and partners, including UNICEF that are helping to boost the nation’s weak water resource and sanitation service here.
“And so we all know that the nation has not been adequately served when it comes to water. We must admit that certain progress has been made recently with the partnership that has joined the government…,” she added.
President Sirleaf noted that Liberia has been served with water historically through a state-owned enterprise – Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation or LWSC. She remarked that the state-owned corporation has been in existence for these years with a primary responsibility to deliver water to people, based on budgetary allocation of the public sector.
But the President was clear that “it hasn’t gone very far” and it has been NGOs that have come in the country overtime and filled the gaps in so many ways. President Sirleaf particularly pointed to rural areas where she says Water and Sewer could not reach and where distribution systems … are impossible due to the absence of roadways, among others.
“And so we all know that the nation has not been adequately served when it comes to water. We must admit that certain progress has been made recently with the partnership that has joined the government and today I felt some percentages – there has been challenge.”
On the other hand, President Sirleaf discovered that “the fragmentation is not helping” government in terms of service delivery, which she wants straightened up. While acknowledging that the Water and Sewer Corporation has certain responsibility as a public entity to go ahead to provide water in keeping with budgetary allocation, President Sirleaf however named other Ministries, including Lands, Mines and Energy; Public Works and Health, among others, as government institutions that are working with the corporation to provide service to the public. – By Winston W. Parley – Editing by Jonathan Browne