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Government owes GH¢892 million to waste management companies

By Godwill Arthur-Mensah/ Gideon Ahenkorah,
GNA

Accra, Aug. 25, GNA – Government is owing
waste management companies an outstanding debt of GH¢892 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 GH¢50 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.

GNA

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