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Parliament applauds new SALWACO

March 3, 2020

By SALWACO communications unit

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Members of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Water Resources on Wednesday 26th  February 2020  showered praises on the new Managing Director of SALWACO, Mr. Joseph Munda Sandi.

Members of Parliament acknowledged strides made by the MD since his appointment two months ago. The Managing Director has given a face lift to SALWACO in engaging in series of activities.

SALWACO’s distribution of effective water supply in the provincial areas is increasing at a faster rate.

The Chairman Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Water Resources, Hon. Lahai  Marrah of Constistutncy 042 in Falaba District said that the Committee is pleased with the report presented to them and that within the shortest possible time, the New Managing  Director has started doing a very good job in making sure that SALWACO administers well on its mandate.

In his submission, the Managing Director of SALWACO, Joseph Munda Sandi said that since he took up office on the 14th December 2019, he has been touring the Three Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project (TTWSSP)  of (Makeni, Bo & Kenema) funded by African Development Bank (AfDB),  which has been in existence for nearly ten years.

“My team and I had a three  day management retreat in Bo, early January, all as part of the effort to improve water supply for the people in the provinces. We targeted ourselves to do over 5000 connections in the three cities by the end of March.  Everybody is working assiduously to meet this target. This we have launched in all the three cities.

We have also launched the free revolving social connection for the pro poor in the same three cities. This in itself is targeting two thousand connections each within three months” MD emphasized.

Mr. Sandi said he wants the agency to be a commercial entity so that the utility can be sustainable.

Mr. Sandi informed the Committee that two weeks ago, he took the members of the Board of Directors to look at the three towns peoject and see some of the successes and challenges.

He said SALWACO water being WHO standard is cheap, affordable and pure and that the agency is spending more money on chemicals and electricity for treatment and pumping respectively.

He added that most of the agency’s vehicles are not in good working condition. Within the shortest period he has managed to repair some old vehicles just to kick start the connections. Construction on the new water treatment plant in Makeni has been completed but more funding is needed to build the balancing reservoir before it will start functioning properly.  He mentioned. “I have made submission to the Ministry of Finance about the reservoir in Makeni so that it can be functional”, he said.

Mr. Sandi lamented about the salary situation, adding that SALWACO is the only agency whose staff receives minimal salaries and funds for its operations under the same Ministry of Water Resources.

“Our challenge is fuel and presently the agency needs 250 million Leones for fuel for operations.”

SALWACO MD continued that the six towns project sponsored by the government of Sierra Leone will look at three districts in the South East and three districts in the North and North West regions.

He noted that Kono District is a big District but does not have pipe borne water.

SALWACO has engaged donors that are dealing with water and sanitation so that they could help the Agency in making sure that most of the districts have pipe borne water, especially Kono, Bonthe, Moyamba, Kailahun and Port Loko among others.

“I have paid courtesy calls on the EU-Embassey, World Bank, UNICEF, MBSSE and next week I will be meeting with DFID just to find ways and means in getting funds for the agency”, he stated.

He concluded that his administration will make sure that most of the big towns and cities have pipe borne water if funds are provided.

In addition, the Operations Manager, Mr. Abdul Ben Lebbie briefed MPs about the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project that is also supported by AfDB and that in this project there are fifty contractors whose  contracts were awarded to them by Councils where these projects are located. “This shows how we involve the beneficiaries’ right from the onset of the project.”

He added that Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project’s  main purpose is to provide access to clean and safe water to the communities through hand dug wells gravity scheme , spring boxes and rain water harvesting. There is also the Sanitation component within the project.

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Water Resources expressed concern over some contractors of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project, noting that contractors were not doing the right work and they therefore expressed their desire to do a thorough oversight in the districts where these projects are being implemented.  Documents were demanded for specific facilities for the Rural  Water Supply and Sanitation Project.

Members then pledged to support and work with SALWACO in getting more funds.

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