Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, undersored the need to employ more staff for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enable it to effectively perform its role.
He has thus charged the soon to be inaugurated Board of the EPA to work with management within the earliest possible time, to employ more staff, especially for the Greater Accra East Office in Tema that covers seven districts assemblies with the Tema Metropolis.
Earlier, Mr John Pwamang, the Acting Executive Director of EPA, in a durbar, had requested that the Agency be allowed to employ more staff to enable it to work and raise funds to meet its obligation and mandate.
He said since May, last year, that the Agency was weaned off government’s subvention, it had been struggling to pay its staff and carry out other activities with the 64 per cent Internally Generated Funds (IGF) it retained.
He said other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, which paid the 34 per cent of the IGF to the Government were still being paid their salaries by the Government and so it was not fair for the EPA to pay all that percentage while it struggled to pay its staff and run other programmes.
Currently there were about five officers manning all the seven districts in the Tema Metropolis while the overall staff of the EPA is about 400 instead of the mandated 850 to help carry out its activities.
Therefore, the Minister said the New Board would have to quickly look at the needs of the Agency, especially, the staff needs.
During a tour to inspect the new four-storey building of the Greater Accra East Office of the EPA on Thursday, Prof Frimpong-Boateng, who was accompanied by his Deputy, Ms Patricia Appiagyei, commended the Agency for putting up the edifice which, though had two more floors yet to be completed, was a more suitable architecture.
He said the edifice would serve as a critical centre to monitor mercury and other unapproved pesticides that were banned in the country and a major lab centre to scan and ban unapproved pesticides, weedicides and other chemicals that are blacklisted.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the EPA had a lot of collaborations to do with the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ports and Harbours Authority with regards to Ghana’s obligation towards the Minamata Convention on the ban of mercury.
The Minister gave the assurance that he was discussing with the Ministry of Finance to review the EPA’s 34 per cent of the IGF paid to government, which was affecting its operations.
Ms Appiagyei described the EPA as an important Agency and the need for the staff to refocus their attention on how to fulfill their mandate and help secure a cleaner and safer environment.