MOVES are afoot to merge Eda Ranu and Water PNG

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National Planning and Monitoring Minister Richard Maru said on Friday the merger of the two entities would save cost and together they would have the financial capacity to fund a lot of water and sanitation programs in the country, using the profits they generate from the profitable centers like Port Moresby and Lae.

Mr Maru said he is taking an NEC submission to establish the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Authority and for the NEC to look into the merger of the two institutions.

“It will not cost the national government any money to fund the operations of the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Authority as it will be a self-funding body for the license fees from the water utilities of the country,” he said.

He said this is in line with the government’s National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) Policy (2015-2030) which calls for the total overhaul of the water and sanitation sector by putting a new apex body to manage and look after the merger of the two entities.

He with the new body taking care of itself, the government can focus on the WaSH policy and the plan to provide water to all provincial headquarters over the next five years.

Mr Maru said all districts and provincial headquarters should have water supply, including the provincial capitals of Hela and Jiwaka.

“Our intention is to make sure that 70 percent of our people have access to safe water and sanitation by 2030, so the overhaul and reform is critical,” he said.

He currently the government is working together with its development partners; World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union (EU) to implement the policy at the provincial and district levels as well as in rural village communities.

“PNG has already missed its Millennium Development Goals water and sanitation targets for 2015 and unless considerable improvements are made, it will also miss national targets identified in the Development Strategic Plan 2030.

He said the government and WB signed the Project Agreement in March 2017. The projects identified by WB are to be implemented over a five-year period from 2017 to 2022.

Mr Maru said the project scope involves feasibility study, detailed design documentation, construction tendering and construction. The total funding for this program stands at USD$51 million (K170 million) with Water PNG (WPNG) as implementation agency. Bialla and Bulolo are the first two districts being prepared for construction under the WB program.

He said the ADB program will cover Vanimo, Mendi and Kerema. The scope involves the development of a work plan, water safety plans, review of institutional capacity, review of procurement, review of project management capacity, and feasibility studies.

Mr Maru said the ABD has allocated a budget of USD$50 million (K156 million) for these three towns.

“The objective of the these programs is to ensure that all remaining provincial towns without water supply, must have water supply system installed, in spite of the various challenges anticipation. Sanitation coverage is the next target. Other current in-country donor funded projects are ongoing,” he said.

Mr Maru said the government has asked the EU, under the 11th European Development Fund to fund Tari’s water system as the provincial capital of Hela and Kurumul town water supply as the provincial capital of Jiwaka. Based on initial scope and cost, these two projects will cost E10.5 million (K39.1 million) in total. Source: Sunday Chronicle/PNG Today

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