“We want non-functionality of water systems to drastically reduce from the current level of about 30% to as low as 5% by the next decade”. This according to Naa Baga II, Chairman of the Direct Support Cost Committee, will only happen, if challenges with Direct Support Cost are addressed thoroughly.
Published on: 12/10/2012
Naa Baga II, known in private life as, Wigbert Dogoli, is the Volta Regional Director for the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA). He made the comment during a sitting of the committee at the CWSA head office in Accra.
The committee on Direct Support Cost (DSC) committee is tasked to come up with the realistic Direct Support Cost required to ensure sustainable water service delivery. It is made up of a selected technical staff of representation from the CWSA and IRC Ghana.
The Direct Support Cost is the expenditure on support to local-level service providers, users or user-groups. It includes cost of ensuring that local government staff in charge of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the districts have the capacity and resources to carry out planning and monitoring, help communities when systems breakdown, audit community management, structures, monitor private sector performance, carry out regular hygiene awareness raising and so on.
Direct Support Cost is a component of the Life Cycle Cost Approach (LCCA), a concept on proper budgeting for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services to ensure sustainability.
The LCCA cost components include Capital Expenditure, Operational and Minor Maintenance Expenditure, Capital Maintenance Expenditure, Expenditure on Direct Support (or Direct Support Cost) Expenditure on Indirect Support and Cost of Capital. The concept is the result of years of action research by the WASHCost Project and its partners in four countries to come out with realistic cost of ensuring sustainable WASH service delivery.
Naa Baga II observed that the current situation where non-functionality is reported to be around 30 percent is unacceptable. This, he attributed, among other factors, to inadequate support to local level governance support. This is mostly attributed to lack of finance to support post-construction governance activities.
According to Naa Baga II, the committee will come out with how much it will cost to maintain each water system or borehole across the country. It will also come out with a per capita cost of maintaining the systems for the year; thus, how much it will cost to maintain a single facility and how much each person will need to contribute if it were to be shared among the total population in the country.
Naa Baga II explained that ‘coming out with the expected Direct Support Cost will help factor them into the budgeting for WASH by District Assemblies and other relevant stakeholders in their projects so they can make provision for those activities and supervisory roles’.
Naa Baga II finally stated that the desire to achieve a less than five percent non-functionality through a proper budgeting for Direct Support Cost will help ensure sustainability of water, sanitation and hygiene services to the intended recipients.
The committee has currently finished its work and is expected to come out with its results and recommendations shortly.
It is the expectation that recommendations that will be made by this technical committee will help influence policy and budgeting in the sector, especially taking into consideration issues relating to Direct Support Cost, to help ensure sustainability of service delivery to service users.