The National Water Resources Management Agency’s (NWRMA), Director-General, Junisa P. Bangali Esq. has told business owners and administrators that Regulators are not enemies; rather they protect against harm and misuse, thereby maintaining a sane business environment in Sierra Leone.
He made this statement while on a national compliance enforcement exercise around the country from 9th-14th October 2023, as a last resort to get businesses who use raw water for economic gains to regularize their operations with the Country’s water resources management laws.
DG Bangali said natural resources are the property of the government and people of Sierra Leone, and that the government is charged with the responsibility of managing the resources. He said regulators generally work towards maintaining a business environment free from arbitrary use, misuse, and/or monopoly, thereby giving individuals, groups, and businesses a fair chance according to their needs.
“No matter what natural resource we talk about, individuals, groups, and businesses compete to utilize it. Therefore, unregulated activities around natural resources would lead to chaos, thus unfair access. Water Resources is not an exception to this.” DG Bangali said.
DG Bangali furthered that raw water as a natural resource has the power to impact the country’s socioeconomic, political, and security landscape, and thus must be managed judiciously, because it is a delicate commodity that is prone to overuse and even pollution which effect can explode beyond our estimations.
The compliance enforcement exercise was carried out in partnership with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), in a bid to get major raw water users in Port Loko, Bombali, Tonkolili, Kono, Moyamba, Bo, Kenema, and Kailahun districts, to comply with Sierra Leone’s water resources management laws.
Musa Kanteh is the Head of the Policy, Compliance, and Ethics Unit at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and is also part of NWRMA’s compliance enforcement exercise. He said the ACC is particularly keen on collaborating with regulators, as any entity using state resources without the necessary permit is defrauding the state, which in itself is a corruption offence punishable by law. Kanteh further said the ACC has similar partnerships with different regulatory bodies in the country, to go after and punish businesses, groups and/or individuals who commit corruption offences by evading regulatory bodies.
The National Water Resources Management Agency was established in 2017 by an Act of Parliament known as the National Water Resources Management Agency Act no. 5 of 2017 with broad mandates including but not limited to conservation, protection, control, development, and management of the water resources in Sierra Leone. One of the specific objectives through which the Agency achieves its mandates is by levying fees on water users, who gain economic advantage as a result of their uses, for example, sea transport companies, mining companies, water bottling companies that abstract water from natural sources, etc.
For more info, please contact:
NWRMA Communications Unit