Government to push water, sanitation agenda

​Only 40% of the population in the country have access to improved drinking water supplies, and just 19% have access to improved sanitation.

Minister for Planning and Implementation, Richard Maru said such statistics are alarming and is unacceptable.

Maru said one of the primary reasons behind the poor statistics is that PNG does not have a coordinated structure, and has lacked the policy in the past to drive the growth of water and sanitation sector.

However, he said the last O’Neill-Dion Government had enacted the new PNG National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) Policy to address this issue.

Maru added that the Policy calls for the total overhaul of the water and sanitation sector by putting a new apex body to manage and look at the merger of the two entities, Eda Ranu and Water PNG to save cost and together they will have the financial capacity to fund a lot of the water and sanitation programs in the country.

He said currently the Government is working together with development partners; World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the European Union to implement the policy at the provincial and district levels as well as in rural villages.

The Government and World Bank signed the project agreement in March 2017 which will be implemented over a 5 year period from 2017-2022 at a cost of K170 million.

Maru further reiterated that PNG has already missed its Millennium Development Goals water and sanitation targets for 2015, and unless considerable improvements are made, PNG will also miss national targets identified in the government’s Development Strategic Plan 2030.

Freddy Mou