The Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) Act offers local entrepreneurs an opportunity to generate income through sanitation marketing, experts have observed.
This comes after Parliament passed the PPPs Bill, presented by Finance and Development Planning Minister Ken Lipenga, into law. Lipenga said the new Act will prioritise infrastructure projects in the agriculture and public health sector, among others.
One of Malawi’s leading ‘Sanitation Marketing’ experts, New Restoration Plan- Malawi’s country director, Dr. George Chaima, said in an interview that countries like Togo, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria have used PPPs arrangements to turn their sanitation industries into billion-dollar cash spinners.
“We can do the same in Malawi and create employment opportunities for our people,” Chaima said.
He said the World Bank also recognizes the economic contribution of ‘Sanitation Marketing’, citing the bank’s support of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaboration Council and the Global Sanitation Fund.
“Sanitation Marketing can become a big industry. Opportunities exist in disposable-toilets designing and manufacturing. The construction industry can also experience a boom,” Chaima added.
He said sanitation investors could start with city toilets’ management, and called on government to create a special ministry, in anticipation of the sector’s contribution to the national economy.
Responding to Chaima’s suggestion on city toilets’ investment, Blantyre City Assembly’s (BCA) director for health and social services, Dr. Emmanuel Kanjunjunju, noted that better collaboration between private entrepreneurs and city authorities could help cities generate more income.
Kanjunjunju said BCA has started courting private investors. He said BCA was strategizing on how to encourage huge investments in the sanitation sector.
“However, we need to come up with modalities that will ensure that charges imposed by private operators do not hinder access to sanitary facilities. Profit-maximization, if not well-balanced with social responsibility, forces many people to engage in open defecation,” Kanjunjunju said.
Other observers, notably Tools for Enterprise and Education Consultants, have said the sanitation sector could generate more than K2 billion annually.