Government Pays GH¢200 Million Of Debt Owed Waste Management Contractors

The government has paid GH¢200 million out of the GH¢892 million owed waste management contractors.

Taking his turn at the meet-the-press series in Accra on Thursday, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Mr Joseph Adda, said a significant amount of the money had been released to the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).

According to the minister, waste companies were unable to pick up heaps of garbage on time because of the huge debts the government inherited on assuming office.
He explained that the debt accrued from provision of fumigation services, compensation for GYEEDA employees and sanitation guards, provision of landfill management services, as well as debts arising out of contracts with the Ministry of Local Government and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).

“This huge debt needed to be settled before effective delivery of services could be carried out,” Mr Adda said.

He stated that the government was auditing the debt stock before more payments would be made.

Waste transfer stations

Mr Adda told the media that the absence of strategically located mini waste transfer stations in the cities and towns usually contributed to the piling of garbage.

For that reason, he said, 15 mini transfer stations were being constructed to make for efficient waste collection.

“The Ministry of Finance has released GH¢50 million to construct 15 mini transfer stations, in addition to the evacuation, for a start,” the minister announced.

He said the ministry was collaborating with the security agencies to assist in the evacuation of waste across the country.

On plastic waste management, Mr Adda said the ministry had received a number of proposals seeking to tackle plastic waste, saying it was reviewing the proposals and would come up with a plan to manage plastic waste across the country.

He also announced that the fund set up to manage plastic waste had accrued GH¢60 million and the ministry was investigating what had happened to the cash.

Value chain

Mr Adda said “the entire value chain of waste management has not been well structured, nor has the financing of those services been streamlined in such a manner as to facilitate collection, haulage and treatment before final disposal”.

He said the lack of cooperation between small waste collection groups known as “borla taxis”, and larger waste management companies had all contributed to the sanitation issues in the country.

For that reason, he advocated collaboration between these bodies, as well as a change in attitude among Ghanaians, all aimed at making Ghana a clean country.

He also announced that the ministry would meet with landowners at Kwabenya to find ways of reviving a £6.5 million landfill project being funded by the British government but which got stalled after £3 million had been pumped into the project, due to agitations from residents of Kwabenya.

Sanitation authority

Mr Adda announced that the ministry had completed a draft policy for the establishment of a National Sanitation Authority, with a supporting sanitation fund, to regulate and lead the implementation of sanitation policies, as well as provide funding for service delivery.

“The policy also makes provision for the establishment of a dedicated enforcement team under the authority, to be called National Sanitation Brigade, that would ensure compliance with laid down laws and regulations,” the minister said.

He also announced that a nationwide sanitation strategy had been drawn up and would be launched by the President soon.

Mr Adda said the ministry was also in consultation with various investors to convert waste into value added products such as energy, compost fertiliser and recycled plastics and paper.

“This will reduce the final residue of waste to a minimum level, which will not require huge landfill sites to dispose of waste,” he added.

Rural water

On the provision of potable water for rural communities, Mr Adda said: “The ministry is on course to deliver rural water, as well as complete ongoing water treatment plants and inaugurate them.”

He said those to be inaugurated soon included Cape Coast, Wa and Essakyir, adding that “funds have been sourced, awaiting statutory approval, to undertake new projects to further expand access to water, so as to deliver water for all”.