….concurs with House of Representatives – By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – The Liberian Senate has finally passed the long awaited National Water Supply and Sanitation Commission Act.
The Act had been languishing at the Senate since 2016, after it was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives.
Now that the Upper House (Senate) has concurred with the Lower House of Representatives on the passage of the WASH Commission Act, it now goes before the President for approval, and printed into law.
The Act seeks to ensure vibrant Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector supported by direct National Government and development partners investment which is critical to the rapid economic recovery, reconstruction and development of Liberia.
The Act recognizes that the economic and social development objectives of the people of Liberia shall be best achieved by a favorable and improved Water Supply and Sanitation services.
Well, the concurrence by the Liberian Senate with the Lower House has been described as a victory for underprivileged and marginalized residents of swamp communities.
Addressing a press conference after the passage of the Act, Grand Bassa County Senator, Jonathan Kaipay, said the passage of the bill signifies the important role WASH plays in any nation.
Senator Kaipay indicated that after viewing the Bill submitted by the Lower house thoroughly, the Senate saw magnitude in concurring with the House of Representatives in passing the WASH Commission Act.
Also, speaking at the conference, the Executive Director of United Youth, Timothy Kpeh commended the House of Senate for the passage of the Bill.
Mr. Kpeh said the passage will now bring relief to several unprivileged and marginalized Liberians who are going through major challenges when it comes to water, sanitation and hygiene.
He described the passage as a victory for the Liberian people especially for Liberians who are living in swamp communities.
Also commenting on the passage of the Bill, WaterAid Deputy Country Director, Chuchu Selma commended WASH CSOs for engaging with their Lawmakers to ensure the passage of the Bill.
Mr. Selma said both Representatives and Senators were very attentive in listening to the quest of the Liberian people, calling for the creation of an enabling environment for water, sanitation and hygiene in the country.
He also praised the WASH Media for its robust reportage on the issues of WASH in the country.
The British charity Deputy Country Director views the passage as a mile stone for the WASH sector of Liberia.
Making remarks at the press conference, a resident of Clara Town, Asumana Dukuly said swamp community dwellers now have hope for the provision of safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene.
Mr. Dukuly said the over 58, 000 residents in Clara Town who have been going through several challenges in line with WASH service delivery can now breath an air of relief.
He commended members of the National Legislature for prioritizing the issue of WASH in their deliberations.
The creation of the WASH Commission was part of recommendations put forward by the WASH Compact, Liberia’s roadmap in moving the WASH sector forward.
The Compact focuses on 4 priority areas (1) Establish and strengthen institutional capacity (2) Ensure equity and prioritized service provision (3) Develop a monitoring system and (4) Improve sector financing mechanisms.
The Commission will serve as a regulatory agency that will be responsible for regulation of tariffs, licenses, Public Private Partnerships, service standards, and water laws compliance – in order to ensure that water and sanitation services are provided in an efficient, fair and sustainable manner.
The proposed National Water Supply and Sanitation Commission shall have an Executive Director, with support from the Board comprising Ministers of WASH related Ministries and others.
It shall be a Secretariat to serve as the administrative, regulatory and operational arm of the Commission.
The proposed Commission shall also seek to encourage, promote and assist in the development of a National Agenda to develop and improve water supply and sanitation services for the growth and development of the economy of Liberia.
Meanwhile, both the Houses of Representatives and Senate have pledged support for the establishment of a WASH Commission, as efforts are continuing to bring about improvement in the WASH sector of the country.