Sanitation Authority or Agency proposed
The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources is considering the establishment of a Sanitation Agency or Authority to enable it effectively and efficiently manage environmental sanitation issues in the country.
The sector Minister, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, made this known at a meeting between him and the Executive members of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) in Accra recently.
The meeting was initiated by the ESPA to enable it interact with Mr Adda and his team since ESPA members were made up of private waste management companies.
Mr Adda announced that currently, the Water Directorate, Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate, all formerly under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development were now under his ministry.
Aside that, there was a lot of goodwill from the international community and organisations including the World Bank, UNICEF and DANIDA.
Mr Adda said a Sanitation Agency or Authority was needed at this point of the country’s development and added that the government had prioritise sanitation, and the establishment of such an agency or authority would provide a more focal point to promptly address the myriads of challenges the sector faced.
“I am still discussing this with my team”, he stated.
Introduction of ‘Samasama’
Mr. Adda informed participants that the Ministry was also considering recruiting about 4,500 students who had completed school of Hygiene to champion its “Samasama” project. The move he said would create employment and also help keep our environment cleaner.
He advised ESPA members not to criticize the new ministry but instead support it with ideas stating “we are here, together as a team”.
The Executive Chairman of J. Stanley Owusu Group, Mr Stanley Owusu congratulated the Minister for his position, and pledged the support of members to the success of the new Ministry.
Mr Stanley Owusu, who is also the Second Vice-President of ESPA said members of the association were grateful for the creation of the Sanitation and Water Resource Ministry.
Challenges affecting ESPA
The Executive Secretary of ESPA, Ms Ofori-Antwi gave an overview of the challenges affecting the sector. Among others, she talked about the rather long distances required by drivers to haul and discharge waste collected in and around the capital. She said, the issue was a major challenge affecting the speed by which contractors collected and hauled solid waste.
Ms Ofori-Antwi also said members of ESPA would need a tax waiver when they import sanitation equipment/machine as they provided a social service. She also indicated that a lot of effort was needed to deepen public education on sound sanitation practices.
An ESPA Consultant, Mr Ben Laryea, also told the Minister and his team about the high cost of taxes associated with clearing sanitation trucks from the ports. According to Mr Laryea who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Jekora Ventures, it cost about Ghc52, 000 to clear a home-secondhand vehicle, which due to the nature of the business broke down easily resulting in dire financial conditions for operators in the sector. He said if handled appropriately, sanitation could generate employment for many young people roaming the streets today in search of non-existing jobs.
Nana Ama Adobea on her part spoke about what she described as appalling sanitation condition behind the Mallam Market due to an illegal dump site where illegal tricycle operators discharged solid waste collected from in and around Dansoman. She implored the Minister and his team to make time and visit the site.
Mr. Asafo Akyeampong, Managing Director of Amanie Waste, advised the Ministry to look within Ghana in its effort to improve sanitation conditions. “ESPA members have the capacity, expertise, experience and exposure with the Ghanaian terrain as far as sanitation is concerned and we are ready to work with you”, he stated.
By Naa Lamiley Bentil.
Highlights of the meeting in pictures.