Liberia: WASH Commission Seeks U.S.$140 Million

The Executive Director of the water, sanitation, and hygiene commission Mr. Bobby Whitefield has proposed an annual budget of US$140 million to implement its programs across the country.He made the disclosure during the opening of the WASH Sector High-Level Stakeholders Consultative Forum taking place at the Boulevard Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia.

The forum is being held under the Theme: "Improving Water Services Delivery in Monrovia."

Providing statistics on the sector, Mr. Whitefield said between 40 to 42% of people living in Monrovia are without access to pipe borne water, while two million others practiced open defecation.

According to him, 50 percent of health care facilities in Liberia also lack access to improved water source, while 24 percent is without sanitary facilities.

Director Whitefield told participants at the forum that 36 percent of Monrovia residents does not have basic access to hygiene services, and 67 percent lack basic waste management services.

He lamented that 47 percent of schools operating in Liberia are without access to water, so the commission needs at least one hundred and forty million United States dollars for the wash sector per annual.

This figure, he continues, will cover cleaning up, hygiene, and sanitation, among others, adding that the commission intends to promote and regulate the development and management of water, sanitation and hygiene services and serve as the principal government entity on water, sanitation and hygiene throughout Liberia.

The wash boss noted that the focus of his proposal is on the regulation and compliance mandate of the NWASHSC, and that implementation will be concentrated in six of Liberia's fifteen counties, namely; Montserrado, Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Maryland respectively.

He added that the National Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Commission's regulations and compliance department and inspectorate personnel will be trained to use various tools and procedures. He said personnel will be deployed on a routine basis to carryout robust compliance monitoring and issued categories of permits to water producers, extractors, hotels, banks, health centers, food centers, entertainment centers, and shipping centers, among others.

Director Whitefield disclosed further the commission will open separate account for payment of fees and enter into agreement with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) on revenue sheering scheme with the Government of Liberia at a percentage of 60-40.

NWASHC will use the 60% allocation to sustain its equipment, routine compliance monitoring mission and other activities; the commission will also recruit at least 10 persons in each of the six concentrated counties, and will fine violators of various standards in keeping with law and such fines will be deposited into government's consolidated accounts.

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