Minister of Water and Sanitation Abida Mia has said the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector deserves all the attention it needs and has to be priotised as it is central for the development of Malawi.

She made the remarks in Lilongwe during an engagement meeting with Wesnetwork secretariat and membership citing the many challenges facing the sector can be addressed if WASH becomes a priority.

Mia said the ministry is committed to engage all key stakeholders within the government to make sure that in the coming financial year, the WASH sector is priotised.

During the meeting, Wesnet recommended that in light of the current cholera outbreak, Malawi should immediately increase the national budget allocation for the WASH sector from an average of 1 percent over the past 3 to 5 years towards a minimum threshold of 10 percent of the total national budget.

Willies Mwandira, WESNET executive director said the 10 percent allocation is in keeping with Malawi’s Water Sector Investment Plan (WSIP) 2012 allocation estimates, the SDG costing tool projections, Sustainable Water for All (SWA) commitments and the 2008 e-Thekwini declaration which Malawi is a party.

In her remarks, WESNET board chairperson Yankho Mataya said there is a need for the ministry to develop a sector investment plan which will guide all processes in the sector including financing needs.

SWA recognises the critical role that parliaments and parliamentarians play in ensuring accountable, participatory, transparent governance which is necessary for inclusive and sustainable development.

As such Wesnetwork will continue engaging various stakeholders in the political arena on issues if water and sanitation for a better Malawi for all.

So far about 67 percent of Malawians have access to drinking water even though distribution among districts and between urban and rural areas is uneven.

Women and children shoulder the burden of poor access to water services as they often walk long distances to collect water for their families.