Liberia: WASH Commission Wants Budgetary Increment
Monrovia – The issue of financial support to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector of Liberia has been a serious challenge for the sector over the years.
All of the activities occurring in the sector over the years have been supported by donors and development partners in Liberia.
Even before the establishment of the WASH Commission, allocation in the national budget never reflected any kind of support to the sector.
Some sector actors and stakeholders at the time believed that as long as the WASH sector remains fragmented, the needed support to the sector will not be realized.
As a means of settling the issue of fragmentation, stakeholders, Civil Society actors, government and development partners agreed to craft a document for the establishment of a WASH Commission that will be the sole entity in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector in Liberia.
Since the concurrence of the two Houses of the National Legislative for the establishment of the WASH Commission, financial support from government to the Commission has been lacking.
The Commission at present still relies on donors and development partners to fund most of its activities in the sector.
With the inclusion of the Commission in the 2019-2020 draft National Budget and the allotment to the Commission, has been considered as not substantial for the gigantic task the Commission has to implement.
The WASH Media Network has been taking a glance at the budget and the below excerpts is a clear picture of the Commission’s allotment.
Over 700 thousand United States Dollars was set as allotment for the WASH Commission in the 2019/2020 draft National budget.
Roughly 707 Thousand United States dollars has been allotted for WASH, but interestingly, this seems minimum as the Liberia WASH Commission currently has over forty staff and several cars as well as maintenance of the office and other overhead costs.
Many advocates are of the conviction that the allotment is little for the herculean task the Commission has to perform.
The Commission’s budget itself, from the WASH Media analysis does not reflect the reality in the WASH sector.
The entire budget of the entity is divided into two parts workshop, conference and symposia.
Eighty Thousand One Hundred United States Dollars allotted for the first component of the WASH Commission budget, while the second component of is under Operational Expenses allotted Sixty Seven Thousand United States Dollars under this fiscal period.
These two components total sum is Seventy Five Thousand One Hundred United States Dollars.
“From the above, one can deduce that the rest of the budget is going towards the payment of salary, though it is not been spelled out.”
Reports of the past Joint Sector Review (JSR) revealed that donors have been reducing their support to the WASH sector probably due to the lack of government’s commitment and support to the sector.
“With the current approach and capacity of the newly formed WASH Commission, can this amount result to any change?
“With this development, many stakeholders, especially Civil Society actors are of the view that such an allotment to the WASH Commission is a drop in the bucket, while the Commission itself is over staffed and has a huge financial burden.
“The WASH actors believe that with the task the Commission has, a substantial amount should not go to the payment of salaries, instead to activities that could bring about some level of coordination and improvement to the sector.