The GoAL WaSH programme is helping the Government of Liberia set up a regulatory agency for water and sanitation services there. Dr. Alejandro Jiménez, GoAL WaSH programme manager, visited Liberia at the beginning of March to follow up on the progress of establishing the Water Supply and Sanitation Commission (WSSC).
Regulatory agency to improve water and sanitation services in Liberia
Today there are few standards governing the regulatory aspects of water and sanitation services in Liberia. There are no licences for water and sanitation supply and no coordinated service standards for monitoring and regulating service delivery. The result: poor services and unpaid bills.
But in January 2012, the first steps to improve water and sanitation services were taken when Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed the Liberia WASH Compact. The Compact outlines a series of commitments ensuring equitable and sustainable delivery of water and sanitation services for all Liberians. One of the measures is to establish a regulatory body for the sector, the WSSC.
An Act to establish the WSSC by legislation was drafted with support of the GoAL WaSH programme and submitted to Liberia National Legislature by civil society organizations in July 2012. Although the process has been long, an important milestone was achieved when that Act was passed by the House of Representatives in July 2016. Now, what is needed is for the House of Senate to approve this act as well.
During the GoAL WaSH mission meetings were held with civil society organizations, senior members of the ministries concerned and with some members of the House of Representatives to discuss the way forward and garner support for this institutional reform.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Emmanuel Nuquayshowed showed commitment to the reform, “We have run a citizen survey to understand our people´s priorities. Water is among the key top priorities for the country. We need to act upon this”. The ambition is to have the WSSC up and running by the end of 2017.