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Engineers back use of private firms


UK ENGINEERS have defended the involvement of international private companies in providing water and sanitation in developing countries.

Private sector firms have come under fire from aid agencies after the Biwater/Gauff consortium City Water was sacked by the Tanzanian government two years into a 10 year contract (News page 7).

The government claimed investment and performance were inadequate.

'There are lots of private companies working well in Africa. We can't rule out international private sector involvement, but it has to be done appropriately, ' said Bobby Lambert, chief executive of engineering disaster relief charity RedR.

'UK companies bring 180 years' experience in water and wastewater services and can provide a range of options for developing countries to consider, ' added industry body British Water's international director, Paul Horton.

WaterAid dvocacy manager Belinda Calaguas told NCE that large scale privatisation often fails as it is forced upon utilities by central government and local people do not understand why they are suddenly facing price hikes.

'Government and citizens must be given the space to really understand how their service is failing in order to develop the best solution, ' she said.

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