A National Private Sector Engagement forum has been held in Accra with a call for effective private sector involvement in sanitation service delivery.
Held on the theme: "Creating an enabling environment for private sector participation in sanitation service delivery", the event was organised by SNV Ghana, a non-governmental organisation under the Voice for Change, an evidence-based advocacy programme.
The five-year programme in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aimed at strengthening civil society organisations to advocate an enabling environment for governments and businesses to provide good and affordable services for low-income earners.
Addressing the forum on Friday, Eric Banye, the Country Programme Coordinator of SNV, said there was the need for an effective collaboration and coordination between the government and financial institutions to provide targeted financing for sanitation projects at special interest rates for private investors and individual households.
He noted that the marketing of most successful ones were driven by donors and the need to advocate home-grown private sector-led sanitation marketing drive should focus on providing facilities.
Mr Banye, however, called for moving away from addressing sanitation as a social service to business oriented, profitable along sanitation value chain, but also affordable and accessible to pro- poor.
He said discussions on public-private partnerships (PPP) had been rife in ensuring access to sustainable sanitation, a new concept gradually shifting from sole dependence on the government to increased private sector involvement and building business models around social interventions.
Madam Ama Ofori Antwi, Executive Secretary of Environmental Service Providers Association, in her presentation, stated that the waste management sector had created 6,000 formal sector employment jobs and 60,000 jobs for the informal sector.
She noted that the private sector had taken leadership in terms of promoting environmental sanitation and clean environment, with value additions innovations.
Madam Antwi called for reform in policies and clear guidelines outlined for private sector involvement during the process, saying "the government must lead and provide a framework for the private sector to make it attractive for investors."
Mrs Esi Boni-Morkla, Programmes Manager at the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, observed that increasing people's access to improved sanitation, combined with hygiene, was also part of the five global public health strategies for control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases.
She cited inadequate financing mechanism, weak research support, lack of database, unwillingness, inability to pay for services, lack of land, high open defecation and low number of toilet facilities were some of the challenges facing the sector.