05 Dec 2013 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 05 DEC (NAMPA) - Namibia might lose out on money from the European Union (EU) if Government does not fulfil its promise to provide potable water and sanitation to Namibians.
This warning was sounded by the Head of the Rural Development Section here, Jean Paul Heerschap, who was speaking on behalf of the Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Namibia, Ambassador Raul Milani during the 8th Joint Annual Review in the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector here on Thursday.
Milani stated that Government has set itself ambitious targets for especially sanitation up to the end of the financial year (FY) 2015/2016.
Probably too ambitious, given that at the current rate, at best only 25 to 30 per cent of the required 25 000 up to 30 000 toilets are constructed annually.
If this problem is not addressed soon, then we might have to prepare ourselves next year for a payment falling short of the forecasted maximum amount of Euro 9 million (about N.dollars 130 million) because of not reaching the targets, he charged.
EU support to the sector is assisting Namibia to obtain the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets for water and sanitation by 2015.
The support from the European Commission (EC) to the Namibian Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Programme (NAWASA) is EUR 34.9 million (about N.dollars 470 million) for the period 2011 - 2016. The EC is nearly halfway in disbursing that money.
Milani suggested that the inter-ministerial planning and finance committee as part of the new sector co-ordination structure should play a crucial role in securing this in order to further improve efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery in the sector.
Unfortunately, Namibia is still amongst the countries with sanitation shortfalls, having only 25 per cent of its rural population serviced with access to improved sanitation facilities.
The third tranche of the EC budget support to the Namibia Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Programme of EUR 9 million (about N.dollars 130 million) was released last month, directly into the State Revenue Fund of Namibia.
This money is earmarked for the water supply and sanitation sector along Cabinet-approved strategies. If it is too late for the budget hearings of the financial year 2014/2015, then this money can still be used in the forthcoming financial year for a top-up on sector allocations in the different votes of key line ministries, Milani explained.
He then highlighted that EC money earmarked to help Government meet the MDGs in water supply and sanitation may under no circumstances be used for other purposes, given the huge backlog in providing improved sanitation to many households which are still without a decent toilet.
With only two years to go before the end of the date of MDGs, I think we can all agree that very urgent action is needed to address the backlog in sanitation. Namibia will only be able to make headway if all stakeholders are pulling in the same direction.
For that to happen, everybody should work in line with the Cabinet-approved Sanitation Strategy, and stop implementing actions which diverge from it, he stressed.