Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Regulatory powers of NWC to be rescinded
Observer Reporter
Tuesday, May 14, 2002


BUCHANAN... government alone will not be able to provide all the resources

LEGISLATION to rescind the regulatory powers of the National Water Commission (NWC) is expected to go before Parliament in the current legislative year, according to water and housing minister, Donald Buchanan.

Buchanan told representatives from the water sector at a recent consultation workshop in Kingston that as the government continued its drive to achieve universal access to potable water by 2005, the NWC could not remain the nation's sole provider.

"Given the magnitude of resources needed to guarantee universal access to water, it is clear that government alone will not be able to provide all the resources," Buchanan said.

The NWC Act, he said, was being amended to "remove the power of the NWC to license other providers of water and to recognise the Office of Utilities of Utilities Regulations (OUR) as the economic regulator".

Added the minister: "I am sure that it will remain the largest and most effective player, but we have to make provision for other players in the sector, including private sector and community players."

Buchanan said the Chief Parliamentary Counsel has already drafted the amendments and we expect to go, firstly, to the Legislative Committee (of the Cabinet) and then to Parliament.

Meanwhile, the draft of a new Water Industry Act, which will provide the legislative framework for the expansion and development of the water sector, should be ready by August.

Consultant, Dr William McCalla, who has overall responsibility for drafting the new legislation, told JIS News that it would revise the role of the National Water Commission (NWC) and facilitate "expanded privatisation" in the water industry.

In addition, the Act would outline a new licensing regime, stipulate common standards for the water sector and define the role of both the minister and the Ministry of Water.

The move to revamp the legislation governing water provision comes as the government continues its drive to have universal access by 2005.