Members of the Liberian Senate have recommended that the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation or LWSC be privatized. The decision is attributed to the fact that the Liberian Government has failed to properly manage the public corporation, thereby denying millions of Liberians safe drinking water and proper sewer system within Monrovia and the rest of the country.
The Senate made the decision during its Thursday sitting at the Capitol Building, following recommendations from its committee on Lands, Mines, Energy and Natural Resources headed by Grand Kru Senator Albert Chie in its full written report to the plenary.
According to the report, the LWSC is only capable of supplying about 4 million gallons of water per day to Monrovia and its environs which have current demand of approximately 16 million gallons - only 25
percent of the demand.
Senator Chie’s committee further stated that most of the LWSC production, transmission and sewage facilitates still remain in a state of disrepair. “The 36 inch- pipe through Johnsonville, which supplies water to a significant portion of Monrovia and its environs was highly corroded and was on a time bomb. The 16 inch transmission main line has also outlived its usefulness,” the report said.
Senator Chie, former Assistant Minister at the Lands, Mines and Energy explained that rehabilitation work - funded mainly through donor grants, was ongoing at White Plains and at other LWSC facilitates. He noted that more funds were needed to meet the water demand of Monrovia and immediate surroundings, repair transmission pipes, construct booster stations, s well as rehabilitate the sewage plant in Fiamah and the water system in Harper, Gbarnga and Greenville.
According to him, the estimated cost for the projects to be implemented between 2016 and 2020 is US$65 million. He added that prior to 1990, the LWSC supplied nine counties of the country with pipe borne water. He said Except Buchanan, rehabilitation work has not begun in the other county capitals.
Sen. Chie intimated that the LWSC is able to deliver only about 40 percent of monthly bills to customers as it says it is unable to locate most of its customers - lest to collect the outstanding debts. The report maintained that the public corporation has been operating on bilateral and multilateral grants.
The committee recommended the need to reform the water supply and sanitation services sector controlled by LWSC. The committee also recommended that in the interim, plenary requests President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for consideration of fast track privatization of key operational areas, including commercializatio of the Liberia Water Sewer Corporation.
Following the deliberation, the plenary voted that the corporation be privatized in order for the corporation to provide the needed results. Meanwhile, Sinoe County Senator Joseph Nagbe filed a motion of reconsideration that the decision be revisited or revised.
Under the rule of the senate, a senator who files a motion of reconsideration is given three official working days to defend his/her motion. His/her failure to win votes that would over-turn the previous decision.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Edited by George Barpeen