17 March 2017

Namibia: Govt Neglects Providing Sanitation

THE European Union (EU) yesterday made its last payment of over N$100 million to the agriculture ministry for providing water and sanitation facilities across the country.

Agriculture minister John Mutorwa received the money from EU ambassador to Namibia Jana Hybaskova in Windhoek. She said the payment was the last tranche from the N$430 million grant for the Namibian Water and Sanitation Support Programme (NWSSP).

Hybaskova said the EU has been supporting the government to implement the programme since 2011, and that their primary objective was to provide potable water and adequate sanitation to people in rural areas as well as poor communities.

She added that the directorate of water supply and sanitation coordination had submitted a report stating that during 2015, more than 89% of the rural population had access to potable water.

Although this was a great achievement, the ministry had neglected their mandate to improve sanitation standards, she stressed.

Hybaskova said the report stated that it took 12 years for an approximate 4% improvement of Namibia's sanitation. The report also showed that in 2015, only 18,5% of the rural population had access to decent sanitation facilities.

Furthermore, 30% of urban households do not have access to decent toilet facilities.

"We would love to see more progress in the area of sanitation. Namibia could be scoring better in this area," Hybaskova urged.

The report also revealed that the percentage of urban households with potable water increased from 93% to 98,3% from 2012 to 2015.

Agriculture minister John Mutorwa said the ministry was able to achieve a lot with the funding from the EU. He said, among others, the construction of the Neckartal Dam in the //Karas region is 61% completed.

The second phase of the Katima Mulilo-Ngoma water pipeline, which goes up to the Bukalo village, was also completed.

Mutorwa added that the ministry was likewise able to supply water to communities in the Kavango East and West regions through the creation of the Shamvhura-Shamangorwa and Mupini pipelines.

The sanitation area was not as simple as perceived, he noted.

"Conscious efforts have been done, and that is how we are doing it. The first (step is) awareness and education so that the ownership aspect is looked into," the minister said.

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