By Gerald Tenywa
Uganda is likely to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for access to safe water, but it is off track on sanitation, according to Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Water and Environment.
The Millennium Development Goals contain a commitment to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
MDGs were global commitments agreed upon by world leaders under the United Nations to promote development, especially in the least developed countries such as Uganda.
According to Kamuntu, access to safe water in rural areas is estimated at 65%, while the access in urban areas has increased from 66% to 69%. Access to sanitation is 70% in rural areas and 85% in urban areas.
Engineer Dominic Kabuse, the commissioner for urban water, who read Kamuntu’s speech, said indicators in delivery of water and sanitation indicate that the sector has stagnated over the last five years.
He was speaking during the three-day East African CSO Forum held at Lake Victoria Serena Resort, Entebbe.
“In Uganda, as of June 2012, access to safe water in rural areas has stagnated at 65%, which was reported last year. This was mainly as a result of creation of many new district local governments and reduction of local government releases for the fourth quarter of the year 2011-2012,” Kabuse said.
He added: “Access to household latrine coverage has remained at approximately 70% over the previous two years.”
Access to hand washing has increased from 24% to 27% in rural areas, while in urban areas it has increased to 85%.
In 2011-2012, the overall budget for the water and environment sector was sh489.3b. This, according to the minister, translated into 3.1%.
According to Kamuntu, there is concern that present funding levels are insufficient to meet the National Development Plan targets for water supply and sanitation.
“The current budget allocations cannot enable us overcome stagnation in access to safe water and sanitation, neither for rural nor for urban areas,” he said.