August 14, 2020
By Jariatu S. Bangura
The Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Water Regulatory Commission (SLWRC), Emmanuel Mannah, has told Members of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Water Resources that, only 15 out of the 160 water companies in the country have valid licenses to operate.
He told Members that since he took over office, there has been a holistic control in the commission and that those licenses that were distributed were provisional and valid for only one year.
“We have already started the process and we have licensed fifteen water companies and the rest are operating illegally without licenses. We should be closing them down. They have to renew their licenses and in renewing them, there are terms and conditions that are to be fulfilled. We want to move forward and in doing so we must sanitize the industry and make sure people have the quality of water they so desire,” he said.
He said the 15 companies that have been licensed met the criteria, but noted that the challenge they now faced is the six-month-duration used by Standard Bureau to conduct testing, albeit there was an ongoing negotiation for the testing to be done every three months instead of the usual six months or annually.
Chairman of Water Resources, Hon. Lahai Marrah,said the committee will not allow the commission to tell unnecessary and unverified stories about the past administration that, they issued out licenses based on information given to the commission by Standards Bureau and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
He said the issue of water must be treated with the utmost seriousness and attention and that they should not rely on information without cross checking whether they were doing the right thing or not.
“So, if you are not doing your job, this is parliament and we have a lot of weapon within our disposal. We can stand in the Well and cry you down. Now the President is looking out for more capable people to give them job and you are the lucky ones. We do our recommendations and the President do listen to some of us because we have made statement in this Well about certain individuals and they were replaced immediately,” he said.
He stated that the country has to move forward and needs not wait, noting that sometimes there are institutions that do not take their job with the seriousness it deserves.
“If one visits their offices, you will meet them doing something else and at the end of the day, they are receiving salaries and when those salaries are not paid on time, you will hear the cry all over the place. You need to go and revisit those licenses that have been issued before your arrival. We should be closing them down them for you,” he continued.
Hon. Dr. Mark Mahmoud Kalokoh said most of the diseases that bedeviled the lives of people in the country are waterborne, adding that most of them are deadly and kill dozens of people especially in the rural areas, due to negligence and incompetence of certain institutions in executing their duties.