Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa and His Excellency Rakesh K. Arora, Indian High Commissioner to Freetown
Four major Sierra Leonean towns will benefit from water projects thanks to a loan from the Indian Government, the Gleaner has learnt.
The US$15 million loans to the Sierra Leone Government is being provided by India through the Exim Bank of India, according to the Indian High Commissioner in Freetown, Rakesh K. Arora, who noted that the funds will be used to develop drinking water projects across the country, notably in the cities of Mongo in the north, Njala-Mokonde and Mattru Jong in the south and Daru in the east.
“The civil war in Sierra Leone (March 1991-early January 2002) destroyed drinking water installations in these four towns. Their rehabilitation and the construction of new facilities will reduce the lack of drinking water in the targeted areas,” explains Jacob Jusu Saffa, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance, at the signing ceremony.
The financing agreement between the governments of Sierra Leone and India was signed on 5 February, at the office of the Minister.
Officials say the project will lead to an increase in the capacity of drinking water facilities in the four cities. They added that in the long term more than 100,000 Sierra Leoneans will benefit from continuous access to drinking water.
The project is notably poised to increase the current national water coverage by about 0.6%. This will mark a step forward, but a very small one compared to the problems of access to water faced by the country’s population.
The Sierra Leone government says several other initiatives are being carried out to improve the supply of drinking water; notable among them is the ongoing construction of a dam in Orugu in the Western Area Rural. When completed, the Orugu Dam will store water from the Rokel River at Mortem Village, with the capacity of supplying 600,000 people.
The Sierra Leone government says it wants to increase the rate of access to drinking water from the current 59.6% to 80% by 2023. In its national development plan (2019-2023), the government also states its intention to modernize drinking water supply facilities across the country.