By: WSH R&E “Media” Network – Members of the House of Representatives of the National Legislature of Liberia have unanimously passed the National Water Supply and Sanitation Commission Act.
The Act sponsored by Montserrado County District#9 Representative Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood and co-sponsored by Montserrado County District#5 Representative, Thomas P. Fallah recently at the Capital during a special Session.
The National Water Supply and Sanitation Commission Act now goes to the Upper House (Senate) for concurrence before taken to 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 (WSS).
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, the House of Representatives 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.
WaterAid and its local CSO partner, United Youth for Peace, Education, Transparency and Development held a one day forum recently on the establishment of a WASH Commission, before the signing of the WASH Commission Act.
Giving an overview of the forum, the Executive Director of the local CSO group, Timothy Kpeh said the establishment of a WASH Commission is critical to the economic, political and social development of the country.
Mr. Kpeh told participants that the advocacy drive by his organization and other CSO groups continues to engage the Government of Liberia to ensure that a Commission is established to bring about governance in the WASH sector of the country.
Representatives Gabriel Smith and Munah Youngblood of Grand Bassa and montserrado counties respectively said as long there is no governance structure in the sector, moving the sector forward will be a major challenge.
The forum was aimed at creating awareness about the passage of a Bill that will bring about the establishment of a WASH Commission.
Making remarks at the one day forum, Montserrado County Representative Munah Youngblood said she supports the establishment of a WASH Commission, because the Commission will indeed set standards for the sector.
Representative Youngblood noted that when such a commission is established, all WASH issues will be placed in the hands of the entity.
Representative Youngblood said at present, the sector is in-need of budgetary support.
For his part, Grand Bassa County Representative, Gabriel Smith said the establishment of an entity with oversight on WASH is very crucial sector.
Representative Smith said the provision of services in the sector is shared amongst several institutions thus making service delivery challenging.
He said the issue of safe drinking water is cardinal to the survival of Liberia as a nation.
Representative Smith used the occasion to assure citizens that the Bill calling for the establishment of a WASH Commission will be passed before leaving the Legislature.
In a related development, Representative William Darkel of Montserrado county also promised the CSO group and citizens of Liberia that all efforts will be exerted for the establishment of a WASH Commission.
He asserted that, personally he will spear head a lobbying process to bring on board other Lawmakers to push this agenda at the National Legislature.
Meanwhile, the three Lawmakers have assured citizens of the fullest support in the passage of the bill aimed at creating the WASH Commission.
On the passage of the WASH Commission Act, citizens and others have expressed appreciation noting that, at long last Civil Society actors and international Non-Governmental Organizations working in the WASH sector of the country have something to start smiling about.