Chairman for the Parliamentary Committee on Water Resources, Hon. Sualiho M. Koroma has on Tuesday 7th June, 2016 confirmed that the government of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has provided Le 3 Billion to Guma Valley Water Company, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED), to implement their emergency response plan to cushion the effects of the water crisis on residents in Freetown and its environs.
Hon. Sualiho M. Koroma made this disclosure during a debate at the House of Parliament in which recommendations contained in the report on the Freetown water crisis are presentation by the Guma Valley Water Company to Members of Parliament.
The recommendations of the report state that Parliament is “to synchronize the efforts of the Committee set up by His Excellency the President to investigate and demarcate all encroachment areas, Parliament should support the work of the Committee by presenting the document of their investigation for approval by the whole House before any demolition.”
Also, the report further encourages Donor Partners and assures that Government should take the lead to create an enabling environment for investment in the water sector. It added that the Ministry of Water Resources and the Management of Guma Valley Water Company should work with Donor Partners to identify funding gaps for intervention.
Hon. Koroma said to implement the emergency response plan to cushion the effects of the water crisis on residents in Freetown and its environs, there should be the need to overhaul the water infrastructure in Freetown and to review the water tariff, with MDAs owing Guma over Le 15 Billion.
Citing water related issues as apolitical; the Minority Leader of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai called for a water-mix by means of alternative sources and likened it to energy-mix.
Whilst rounding the debate, Hon. Sualiho M. Koroma thanked the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, SBB Dumbuya for playing a pivotal role in one of the meetings with MDAs on the management of the Freetown water crisis. He also thanked UNICEF, ADB, DFID, IDB, World Bank and others for their interventions in the water sector, and called for investment to fix the distribution lines in order for water to reach the intended beneficiaries. He also intimated a Water Management Bill that is yet to be brought to Parliament.
MPs called on Natonal Revenue Authority (NRA) and MoFED to enforce the payment of tax and for MPs to sensitize their constituents on the need to pay for water. They also praised the US Embassy’s harvesting of rain for use in the dry season, and that we exploit all our water sources into a usable commodity.