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Water and Energy Minister tasked to hasten realisation of water supply projects

Cameroon's Minister of Water and Energy, Gaston Eloundu Essomba, has been urged to hasten the realisation of all ongoing water supply…

Cameroon’s Minister of Water and Energy, Gaston Eloundu Essomba, has been urged to hasten the realisation of all ongoing water supply projects in the country.

The plea came from Prime Minister, Philemon Yang during an important Cabinet Meeting at the main building of the prime Minister’s Office, Thursday 31, 2018.

The Meeting attended by the Vice-Prime Minister, Ministers of State, Ministers, Ministers-Delegate and Secretaries of State, had two major items on the agenda, namely: Statement by the Minister of Energy and Water Resources on implementing reforms in the water and electricity sector: stakes and prospects; and Report by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development on progress of the urban sanitation programmes.

Following the introductory statement of the Head of Government, the Minister of Energy and Water Resources first gave a situational analysis and the progress made in the water and electricity sector before dwelling on the ongoing reforms.

With regard to water, he revealed that Government, in keeping with the instructions of the Head of State, undertook a major structural reform which was translated by the effective taking over by Cameroon Water Utilities Corporation (CAMWATER), of the activities hitherto carried out by the “La Camerounaise Des Eaux” (CDE), under the leasing contract on the management of the public utility in charge of producing and distributing potable water in urban and semi-urban areas.

In rural areas, the main achievements of this reform was the deployment of staff with know-how in potable water and sanitation to several Councils, as well as the transfer of resources for the construction of boreholes and potable water supply systems to municipalities, in compliance with the on-going decentralisation process.

Eventually, there will be an increase in potable water supply and the implementation of a maintenance strategy for hydraulic structures. In this light, public authorities have launched several projects to deal with the current deficit.

Such is as the case with, among others, (i) the project to supply potable water in and around Yaounde, which will increase water production to 300 000 m3 per day; (ii) the project to construct 11 boreholes in Douala by which an additional 30 000 m3 will be pumped into the distribution network; (iii) the project to supply the towns of Bertoua, Ngaoundere and Edea.

As for the Electricity sub-sector, the Minister underscored that the reform initiated at the start of the 1990s resulted in an opening for competition in electricity energy production, import and export activities, the establishment of a regulatory organ for the sector and the Rural Electrification Agency, as well as the setting up in 2006 of the Electricity Development Corporation (EDC), whose mission is to manage and operate hydroelectricity.

Reforms in this sector continued thanks to Law No. 2011/022 of 24 December 2011 to regulate the electricity sector, with one of the innovations being the establishment of the national electricity transmission company (SONATREL), charged with improving the capacity, efficiency and stability of the national electricity public transmission network.

A number of activities geared towards making this company fully operational have been carried out, notably; the signing of two concession agreements on the management of the transmission network between the State and SONATREL.

Furthermore, feasibility studies have been launched with a view to realising investments on the electricity transmission network. As for prospects, the Minister announced that in 2019, the Energy Production, Transmission and Distribution  Master Plan will be finalised and ongoing reforms will continue with the aim to develop a veritable electricity market.

Taking the floor to address the second item on the agenda, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development gave the progress report of urban sanitation programmes. He disclosed that several projects are ongoing with the support of development partners.

As such, in the area of rainwater drainage, there is the ongoing Yaounde sanitation project to construct an additional 14 km drainage system on the Mfoundi. The expected outcome of this drainage system is to reduce floods and waterborne diseases. In Douala, the rainwater drainage project will construct a drainage system of 39 km and reshape a 9 km outlet.

With regard to wastewater management, Government has launched a wide rehabilitation and construction programme of water treatment plants in collaboration with Local Authorities. These plants are under construction in several towns as part of the project to build low-cost houses in Bamenda, Bafoussam, Limbe and Sangmelima.

Concerning solid waste management, an opening to competition is envisaged with the aim of optimizing waste collection and management.

In the meantime, Local Authorities are invited to provide additional garbage containers and organize awareness campaigns for populations in order to solve the problem of poor sanitation and improve the living environment.

After ensuing discussions, the Head of Government instructed the Minister of Water and Energy to hasten the realisation of all ongoing water supply projects and ensure especially that existing channels are secured. He equally instructed the Minister to submit to him a detailed and precise programme to make SONATREL operational.

To the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, the Prime Minister gave instructions for the inventory and handling of all critical areas in major cities. He further requested him to equally design and implement a programme to construct infrastructure for the treatment of waste, in collaboration with the Ministers in charge of water and the environment.
The meeting   was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.”

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