Government owes GH892 million to waste management companies

Accra, Government is owing waste management companies an outstanding debt of GH892 million for waste management services rendered to government agencies and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, has said.

The debt was inherited from the previous government accrued from the provision of landfill management services, evacuation of refuse, fumigation services, compensation to GYEEDA employees and sanitation guards as well as debts arising out of contracts with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

The Minister said the debt needed to be settled by the government before effective delivery of services could be carried out.

However, he said, government has not only successfully negotiated the settlement of those debts, but had commenced payment.

We have also made resources available for the emergency evacuation of the heaps of refuse that has piled up in Accra and other regional capitals, he said.

Mr Adda made the disclosure when the Ministry took its turn of the Meet-the-Press Series, in Accra, on Thursday, to explain government policies and programmes to sanitise the environment to the media.

He said the immediate evacuation of waste would be carried out in the next few weeks and bring to closure of the illegal dumpsites dotted throughout the national capital.

The Minister said the Ministry of Finance has released GH50 million towards the construction of 15 mini waste transfer stations in Accra, which would be strategically located to serve as a stop-gap measure before the waste would be evacuated to major waste transfer stations in Achimota and Kpone.

Mr Adda said the lack of cooperation by waste haulage businesses, otherwise known as borla taxis’, who did not complied with the established guidelines for waste evacuation had compounded the filthy situation in Accra, which must be addressed urgently.

There is the need to formalise, regulate and integrate the ‘borla taxis’ into the waste management business value chain coupled with their compliance with the laid down guidelines would no doubt improve the sanitation management situation, especially in the neighbourhood where the big trucks cannot get there, he said.

The Minister called for strategic road map to restructure the sanitation sector, in order to accomplish the President’s ambition of making the national capital, Accra, the cleanest city in Africa.

Mr Adda said the Ministry has completed a drafted policy document awaiting Cabinet approval to establish a National Sanitation Authority with a supporting Sanitation Fund to serve as a dedicated agency, to regulate and lead the implementation of the sanitation service delivery.

He said the policy also made provision for the establishment of a dedicated enforcement team under the Sanitation Authority to be called National Sanitation Brigade that would ensure compliance to the laid down laws and regulations.

An assessment of the entire value chain of waste management business system in Ghana with a view to restructuring the sub-sector for efficient operations has also been undertaken.

These activities have all been undertaken to develop the right architecture and operational modalities for delivering the President’s agenda, he said.

Mr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, the Minister of Information, on his part, said cleanliness was next to godliness and, therefore, Ghanaians must change their bad attitudes of indiscriminately littering on the streets.

He said nations that were clean were not because their governments cleaned the streets, but they were clean because their peoples had the right mentality and did not pollute the environment.

There is a sense that we have a responsibility towards our environment and also, there is a sense that government helps us keep our responsibility to our environment, in other words, we have a shared responsibility to keep our environment clean, he emphasised.

He urged all well-meaning Ghanaians to take inspiration from the National Anthem, which highlighted the good deeds of the forbearers who set good sanitation standards and make deeper commitments towards keeping the environment clean.

Source: Ghana News Agency