A Line of Credit (LoC) has been signed which will be used to provide permanent solution to meet the additional water supply demand of Njala-Mokonde (Southern Region), Mattru Jong (Southern Region), Daru (Eastern Region) and Mongo (Northern Region).
According to the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, this LoC will also include the rehabilitation and expansion of the existing portable water facilities as well as provide a guide for an efficient operational plan in these four communities.
The Ministry of Finance on Friday 5th February, 2021 organised a symbolic signing of the US$15 million Line of Credit Agreement between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the India Exim Bank for the Four Communities Water Supply Project.
Minister Saffa stated in his Keynote Address that for all loans taken around the world there are rules and guidelines embedded in them and those rules must be adhered to, “you have the option to adhere to the rules or not if you do not want to don’t take the loans, I am saying this because I don’t want you to take ownership to mean non-compliance” he said.
The Minister further cautioned staff of SALWACO that what has been agreed in the agreement is what they should follow, “if there is anything SALWACO or the Ministry of Water Resources does not want you come back to the Ministry of Finance and we will renegotiate to see if a change is possible” he advised.
The Bank he said have their own rules so as SALWACO progresses, he urged them to directly engage with the Bank to clearly understand their procurement processes and cautioned them that they do not need to come to his Ministry to seek guidance as the country now have a resident India Ambassador and they can also talk directly to the Bank people. He advised that if they are corresponding with the Bank they should copy-in the Ministry of Finance and they in turn will copy them so if there is any need to intervene they will.
Justifying the need for the Project, the Minister said that during the 11-year civil war, all the water facilities in these four communities were badly damaged. Despite government interventions over the past ten years, these communities still lack access to adequate and sustainable portable water supply.
The construction/rehabilitation of existing water treatment facilities in these communities will reduce the burden of fetching water from unprotected streams by mainly women and children and increase the National Coverage by approximately 0.6%.
Currently there is significant imbalance between demand and supply of water in these communities. This imbalance will continue to rise except some more investment is made to optimize these facilities, hence the importance of this Project.
India High Commissioner, Rakesh K. Arora said that the line of credit for expansion and rehabilitation of existing potable water facilities in four communities will provide access to safe drinking water to these four communities in the near future. This LoC he explained was announced during the visit of India’s Vice President to Freetown in October 2019.
The Minister of Water Resources, Phillip K. Lansana said that the loan will benefit over 100,000 Sierra Leoneans in these communities.