6 May 2014

Liberia: Budget Underpins Performance - LWSC Boss Wants More Money

Monrovia — In the wake of water problems facing Monrovia and environs where the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation has been struggling to meet the demands for water of the population of the Capital, the head of the corporation says money is the major factor underpinning the underperformance of the corporation.

Mr. Charles Allen, Director General of the Liberia Water and Sewer Cooperation (LWSC) has told members of the Senate Committee on Public Corporations that the under performance of the LWSC to meet the expectation and need of the public is due to the lack of adequate funding.

According to Mr. Allen before the civil crisis, the LWSC supplied Monrovia with a population of five hundred thousand people with six Million gallons of water on a daily basis but is unable to pump six Million gallons to Monrovia now with a current population of over one million.

He said, though the government of Liberia provided funding that was used to purchase a new machine that is capable of pumping 12 Million gallons of water to Monrovia on a daily basis the LWSC cannot pump that amount of water because it does not have the funding to pump 24 hours.

Director Allen said: "We do not have the money to pump for 24 hours we pump from 5:00 Am to 5:00 pm so we are only pumping six million gallons of water a day which is inadequate for Monrovia."

At a public hearing held in the joint chambers of the Capitol Building, he told members of the committee that the African Development Bank has provided 40 million united states dollars grant under the urban water and sanitation project of which 6.5 million which will be used for Zwedru, Kakata and Buchanan to refurbish the water plants that were operational before the war.

"Most of the money is for the refurbishment of the facility at White Planes that component is currently under designed review to make some modification. We hope that by June we will be finished with the design review and by August we should have tender the contract to allow construction works to begin," Allen said.

He promised that by the end of 2015 the construction works would be completed on the water plant which would give it the ability to pump 15 million gallons of water to Monrovia on a daily basis. According to him at the moment, the government is currently assisting the LWSC with funds for only fuel and chemical.

"Before the war the amount of customers LWSC had in its data base was 40 thousand, but right now we have only 10 thousand, but there are over ten thousand people between the pipeline and the free way community using water from the LWSC that are not in our records we say this because we want you to know that there are challenges", he added.

The LWSC boss also said, the company spent US$ 30,000 on the purchase of fuel on a weekly basis and US$122,000 on salary for employees of the cooperation and other expenditure and of that amount only USD$50,000 for chemical and US$30,000 fuel weekly is being provided by the Government of Liberia.

He stressed the need for government to allocate 1.9 million United States dollars for the Corporation in the country's National budget to do things he described as absolutely necessary. He promised to use five hundred thousand of the 1.9 million to purchase pipe that will supply communities in need and willing to pay their bills.

"The business people are crying they want the water they will pay for it but the pipes in Monrovia are disastrous so we need five hundred thousand to close the gap between Mamba Point, Randall Street, Benson Street, Broad and Carey Streets and Front Street. We went to cabinet with this proposal it was approved but getting the money has been a challenge" Allen explained.

He furthered: "Our monthly expenditure runs to four hundred sixty five thousand and our revenue three hundred and ninety thousand so we have a monthly loss of over 72 thousand. To become viable we think we should generate four hundred thousand monthly that is the target. Right now for every 100 gallon of water produce by LWSC 80 goes in the breeze from transmission pipeline and people who are using our water without being recorded this is the situation that is obtaining at the LWSC."

Water scarcity in the city of Monrovia and access to safe water and good sanitation in rural parts of the country remains a major challenge faced by Liberians which has resulted into the outbreak of many water born diseases.


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