On Friday 15 September 2017, a press conference was held at the TIAMA hotel, at around 10.15 am, in the presence of the Minister of Economic Infrastructure, Dr. Amédé KOUAKOU, the General Director of the National Office of Drinking Water (ONEP) and the other General Directors of the under guardianship structures and SODECI, and the presidents of consumer movements.
The purpose of the conference was to present the new government program called « WATER FOR ALL » planned from 2017 to 2020. But the Minister first presented the various causes of water shortages including, climatic causes (the decrease in rainfall); technical causes (under-sized networks, production deficit, technical breakdowns); Human causes (pollution of the resource, uncontrolled occupation of captured fields, fraud on the network and many others).
The objective of this program, estimated at 200 billion of francs CFA (two hundred billion FCFA) , is to enable at least 95% of the population to have drinking water and to fill the deficits observed in some regions and departments by 2020. To this effect, it will involve the three-year repair of 21,000 defective motor pumps at an estimated cost of 15 billion francs CFA, the maintenance of which will be carried out via a monitoring mechanism; the construction of 200 new water towers with all the pipes and boreholes in order to increase the water production capacity in the regions; the strengthening of water capacities in the various regional and departmental capitals; social connections for a fixed price of 1,000 FCFA per month over a given period instead of 147,000 CFA francs, for 450,000 additional subscribers from January 2018, all for a total of 31 billion; the elimination of consumer advances for homeowners in 2018.
He then discussed the issue of SODECI’s billing period, which will be extended from 3 to 2 months. It will allow to the Ivorian to alternate the payment months for his water and electricity bills. This new deal is created to simplify the life of the populations because it is easier for an employee paid at SMIG to settle a water bill of 4000 FCFA rather than an invoice of 6000 FCFA in addition to that of electricity, explained Dr. Amédé KOUAKOU during his presentation.
According to SODECI statistics, 60% of SODECI subscribers have benefited from social connections over the past 3 years. This approach has been undertaken to help populations who pay water to 1200 FCFA per reseller instead of 230 FCFA with SODECI.
Following his presentation, he answered questions from consumer presidents and journalists on: the installation time and the lifetime of a water meter, the timetable for carrying out the stated work, the adaptability of the new period of different national taxes, lack of communion between structures such as ONEP or SODECI and consumers.
The General Director of SODECI, speaking, said that the life of a water meter is 10 years. The deadline for the installation of a meter after payment to SODECI is 2 weeks (deadline will be reduced according to the Minister), concerning the timetable for carrying out the program « WATER FOR ALL », the Minister Dr. Amédé KOUAKOU re-explained that they will take 3 years and the taxes will be reviewed according to the new billing periods.
The minister reassured consumers that better communication will be created to develop synergy between the latter and the structures under guardianship, he also informed them of the creation of the ONEP Consumer Relations Center (CRC), which can be reached at 22 51 47 00.