The Ministry of Finance has on Friday 5th February carried out the exchange agreement for an Indian loan of US$ 15 million for expansion and rehabilitation of existing potable water facilities in Mongo (Northern, Sierra Leone), Njala-Mokonde (Southern Sierra Leone), Mattru Jong (Southern Region), and Daru (Eastern Region).
The signing of the agreement took place at the Ministry of Finance Conference Room in Freetown.
“During the 11-year civil war, all the water facilities in these four communities were badly damaged. Despite the recent government interventions in the past ten years, these communities still lack access to adequate and sustainable potable water supply,’ according to the Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa.
He said 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%.
He said currently there is a significant imbalance between the demand and supply of water in these communities, adding that this balance will continue to rise except some more investment is made to optimize these facilities, hence the importance of this project.
“This project is in line with the Sierra Leone National Development Plan 2023 to expand the percentage of the population with access to safely managed water from 2 percent to 25 percent by 2023; increase the percent of the population with access to an improved water source within a total collection time of 30 minutes from 69 percent to 85 percent by 2023, and reduce the percent of the population with access to unreliable or limited water service from 10 percent to 5 percent by 2023,” he said.
The India High Commissioner to Sierra Leone His Excellency Rakesh K. Arora said this project was announced during the visit of India’s Vice President to Freetown in October 2019, noting that the implementation of this agreement will provide access to safe drinking water to these four communities shortly.
“India has been supporting infrastructure development projects in Sierra Leone through direct LOCs and ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development. India’s developmental assistance to Sierra Leone aggregates to about US$ 250 million covering a range of sectors – agriculture, irrigation, water management, energy and power, communication, education, etc,” he said.
He said despite COVID-19, they continue to extend their assistance in capacity building for the youth of Sierra Leone, adding that India is committed to being a reliable partner of Sierra Leone in its development journey and will continue to cooperate in the capacity building of Sierra Leone youth under the India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme.
“India’s development cooperation to Africa does not come with any conditions,” he concluded.
The Minister of Water Resources Ing. Philip K. Lansana commends India Exim Bank for the loan, noting that this project will benefit over 100,000 Sierra Leoneans in the four communities.