LWSC: Mo Ali Unveils Reform Plans -Promises Prepaid Metering System; HR Audit

MONROVIA: The Managing Director designate of the Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC),  Mohammed Ali says his administration intends not to sack people from the institution but to commission a holistic audit that will deal with the desire reform measures including a, audit of the human resource capacity  and other reforms that will disclose a holistic understanding of the system regarding what is wrong, what can be changed and how to effect the change and what and how to improve the water and sewer system of Liberia.

Mr. Ali, also an executive of the governing Unity Party, mentioned a number work he envisage when confirmed, including instituting regular water supply to Monrovia and its environs, decongesting the spilling sewage within the city and introducing a prepaid metering system within the entitle amongst others.

Mo Ali as he is usually called made these disclosures when he appear for Senate Confirmation yesterday, saying that the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation which was established in 1973 and amended in 2017 is supposed to be a vibrant entity that should contribute to government revenue instead of relying on the government to service its wage bill.

Mr. Ali said one of the major problems that he will begin to address when confirmed is the problem with the staffing of the entity. “In December 2017, the LWSC had 189 employees on a payroll of $155, 521. 66 a month,” he narrated and stated that ‘by the time we got to December 2023, the employees’ number had grown to 669, increasing the payroll to $384, 160.18 and making the entity dependent on the Ministry of Finance.”

To the Contrary, Mr. Ali said the LWAC is a fund generating corporation that by right is supposed to be contributing to the budget instead of depending on the Ministry of Finance to service its payroll. “I intend to change that around.  Just between April 1, 2023, 184 people were employed. Between July-November, 2023, 20 janitors and 85 Security personnel were employed at the LWSC,” he disclosed.

The MD-designate of the LWSC told the Senate Committee on Public Corporation chaired by Margibi County Emmanuel Nuquay that this level of employment without vetting the people to understand whether they met the requisite criteria for the entity has created a burden for the corporation.

There are outposts of the Water & Sewer the employees are supposed to be stationed working, this include the Caldwell Post and the Fiama Treatment Site, he said and quickly clarifies that  those places are completely out of service,., He added, “The rest of the workers are at that little space at the LWSC head office.” He vow to remedy the situation as part of his 100-day deliverables

Also as part of his 100 Day deliverables, Mr. Ali said he also intends to regularize water supply, and added that some of the things that increase water supply  include the constant supply of chemical for the purification of water at the at the water treatment plant at the White Plain.

He also spoke of electricity as key to achieving his plan, stating that for every hour used to pump water to Monrovia, it takes 86 gallons.  Consequently, he said the LWSC has initiated discussion with LEC to have a dedicated line from Mount Coffey to the water treatment plant to enable the corporation run the system for 24 hours, which he pointed out will cost $38,000.

Secondly, the LWSC Managing Director Designate disclosed his management’s intention to restore regular water supply to Central Monrovia, adding that the Corporation has one million gallon of water reservoir which, however, needs some work that will correct any spoilt on it so as to be able to begin to pump water from that water treatment site to that reservoir facility. “When that one is done, we will begin to test Water supply in Central Monrovia.:

However, Mr. Ali said Monrovia is facing a serious problem that his entity will work with the Ministry of Public Works and other relevant agencies to resolve, saying, “Most of our Water lines in Monrovia are not easily accessible, even if there are problems that need to be solved urgently.”

He disclosed that people have constructed buildings on the pipes which he added make accessibility extremely difficult. “We intend to work with the Ministry of Public Works and other relevant agencies to ensure that we recover our pipes,” he assured.

Besides he spoke highly of his intention to ensure that he decongest the spillage of sewage in the Capital City.  “And there are few things we can do about that – identify where we have clogged through our engineers in the sewage and de-clog our sewage.”

Again he said to do that, the LWSC needs equipment. “At the Present we have one sewage truck. So part of the plan is to acquire more de-clogging trucks so they will be able to parade the City and de-clog the communities and streets regularly.”

Mo Ali also divulged his plan to outsource part of the LWSC activities to other entities, naming the introduction of prepay metering of communities residences. “We want LWSC to produce the water and outsource the collection of fees.   And so we intend to outsource the prepay metering just as it is done by the Liberia Electricity Corporation – you pay your money, water flow; your money finishes, water cuts off.”

He said although water is going to be affordable, he added that it is important to one’s bill no matter how cheap the water bill is. “Even if it is five cent you are paying, pay that five cent and benefit because the treatment and transmission of water is very costly.  We do not have chemicals we use to purify the water; they are imported from either China, Turkey, Spain or Germany and it costs the entity plenty of money.

Further explaining on the prepay metering, Ali said the private entity will be left with the responsibility to collect the money  and the government of Liberia will do the approval and in fact with that agreement, this Legislature will maximize the efficiency of the LW&SC.

Explaining further the water system, Mo Ali noticed that the water pressure is low when one is to open a tag, which he said is because a huge pollution is being supplied water pumped through a 36-inch pipe. Because of this he explained that the Government of Liberia secure funding from the World Bank in the tone of $12 million to replace the 36-inch pipe with a 48-Inch pipe running from the Water Treatment in White Plain to the Plant to that to Pipeline Police Station, to which an addition of $14 million is being solicited to take it to up to White Flower in Congo Town.

“If that is done, we will be able to have an increase of the water pressure, be able to increase customer services to other parts of Montserrado County,” he told the Senate

“Honorable Senators, our sanitation system is terrible. For the sanitation system the treatment plant that was built at Fiama was built to treat sewage that allowed 200,000 persons. By then Monrovia was not as congested as it is today. That system has been down since the war. And from assessment, the understanding is that to …make  the systems functional each, the treatment plant there will cost about $150 million at least,” Mr. Ali explained.

He told the senators that for the fact that we have two or three of these systems there, we are talking about $450 million to bring it back to operational status. He said the moment the LWSC has a system there  to which all the sewage that is being collected around Monrovia and other places is dumped , just allowing sun to act on them until it is purified or treated  at some level through  some natural processes. “That is not good for use. This treatment system must be revived, but you know it will cost a lot.  We are depending on our capacity to seek funding from outside,” he added.

Ali who gave a background of the corporation earlier extended his deepest appreciation to the President of Liberia, His Excellency Joseph Nyuma Boakai for affording the opportunity to serve his country; and also the Liberian Senate for allowing me to sit before this august body for this hearing.

Mr. Mohamed Ali comes to the job with 15 years of experience as water and sanitation expert who worked in both public and private sectors.  He served as director of the Water Sanitation Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning; Program effectiveness coordinator and Emergency Response Coordinator at Water Aid; volunteer at the Wash section of the Ministry of Public Works ; Program  Coordinator of Water Aid both Liberia & Sierra Leone; and did other consultancy with other organizations amongst others.  He said the Water & Sewer is supposed to be a very vibrant entity and at the moment, the entity is not yet there as it relates to the existing system of water in our country.

1 Comment
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