Information reaching the offices of The Daily Democratic newspaper indicates that the persistent glitches at the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), which has led to constant water shortages recently, cannot simply be attributed to lack of efficiency of personnel and effective maintenance culture of systems.
The company, this paper gathered, has qualified civil, electrical and mechanical engineers capable of trouble shooting the operational deficiencies that crop up at the company as demonstrated recently.
The Daily Democrat investigation has revealed that machinations of the Planning and Development Department at the Headquarters of the company hold the clue to the hidden factors that are grinding the efficient operation of the company to a halt.
A source disclosed to this newspaper that external training programmes meant to equip and sharpen the skills of engineers and technicians working on the field daily are constantly hijacked by armchair bureaucrats at the top of the company’s hierarchy to the detriment of the company and the nation.
According to the source, in 2009 some staff members of the company in Kumasi were to have traveled to the Netherlands for a training course intended to build their skills to undertake rehabilitations and repairs schedule of the systems but were sidelined and deprived of the training course.
The source alleged that the Planning and Development Department’s Director and three engineers attached to his office travelled to Europe on a frolic of their own instead of those scheduled to go on the training course.
The Daily Democrat gathered that over the past three years, this tight clique at the Planning and Development Department monopolized and collected training allowances without attending the courses while also denying others the opportunity to go by usurping their schedules.
The overseas courses, the paper gathered are to afford the field staff the opportunity to upgrade their sills to enable them to perform operational assignments without the need to contract expatriates at huge costs as is currently happening.
The paper gathered that the Planning and Development Department of the company was created to increase the participation of local consultants in the content and design for execution of projects and that whereas plans and designs by foreign consultants forwarded to the department are approved quickly, those of local consultants are set aside.
Information indicates that various parameters for design purposes are available at the Water Resources Commission (WRC), Water Resources Commission (WRC), Water Resources and Research Institute (WRRI), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) that can be factored into actual design works but these are rejected in preference to inappropriate foreign designs with the accompanying failures and costs.
According to the source, if efforts are made to incorporate local content in the planning and design, many of the problems of breakdown of machinery and equipment can be solved on time and added, “Technology can be imported but such for knowledge should be adopted, adapted and transferred for national development.”
The source mentioned examples of some of the system failures as the UBS Plat for the Accra Sewerage System built by Taysec, which allegedly functioned for less than two years after completion and the
non-functioning East-West Interconnection Project, which reportedly could have solved the recent water shortage had it been operational and receiving water from the Accra Booster to affected areas in Accra West.
The source cautioned that to prevent situations like the recently embarrassing water shortage, engineers and technicians on the field should, as policy dictates, be given the first option for special training programmes abroad.
Selection for the courses, the source argued, should not be at the whim of the Planning and Development Dept but must be in collaboration with the Human Resource Department with the HR dept having the final say of determining beneficiaries instead of well-placed staff at headquarters using it for holidays.
According to the source, seasoned engineers across board need to be involved in the review of plans and designs submitted by foreign consultants before approval while a total review of the network in the urban areas be conducted and documented for future occurrence and easy trouble shooting.
The source alleged that many of the pumping and transmission main pipelines are not flushed periodically and on schedule to get rid of sediments and other pollutants while valves are also not installed on the lines to make to flushing possible and easier.
Source: The Daily Democrat/Ghana
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