Parliament has summoned two ministers to appear before the House not later than December 10 to brief members of parliament on what is accounting for delays in signing off-taker agreements with waste management companies in the country.
They are Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah and Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama.
The decision to invite the two ministers stemmed from the report of a joint parliamentary committee which was laid before the House and showed a looming waste management crisis in the country.
The joint committees on Works and Housing, Water, Sanitation, Environment and, Local Government issued the report after touring landfill sites and waste management facilities in the country.
Presenting the report, Member of Parliament for Upper Denkyira East, Nana Amoako said there is a national disaster in waiting in the waste management sector based on what the committees witnessed during their visits to Kpone, Oti, Gbalahi and Takoradi landfill sites.
He said the joint committee observed a generally growing concern over sanitation, particularly municipal solid waste management in most of the major cities.
“Mr. Speaker, as a result of increasing population in these major cities, the rate of waste generation has been increasing rapidly according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)” the MP stated.
He urged MPs to support and approve the report to help push the executive to take action on the sanitation situation in the country.
The MP said the visit to the landfill sites was an eye opener because they realise that landfilling was no longer the best way to manage waste, especially so when there is an Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant (IRECOP) that is proven to be more effective and efficiently sustainable.
Member of Parliament for Odododiodio Nii Lante Vanderpuye who is also a member of the joint committee, supported the motion, noting that despite innovations by the private sector, government has failed to sign any management agreements with them.
He mentioned the Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited (SSGL) which has been operating for years, the Accra Compost and Recycling Plant (ACARP) and a lot others as some of the firms in the sector but noted government has failed to sign off-taker agreement with them.
MP for Asawase in the Ashanti Region, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak, catalogued efforts made by past presidents and the sitting president on sanitation, which he said, have not had much impact.
Alhaji Muntaka said it was worrying that in Ghana, the country’s leaders always quick to buy into foreign ventures to the extent that they pay double for whatever services they offer to the detriment of local firms.
He questioned why government has not signed the off-taker agreement with the local waste management companies, and requested the ministers appear before the house to answer why the delays.
Majority leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, requested the joint committee to as a matter of urgency put the report in the form of a bill for consideration.
He also decried the low fees charged by waste managers in Ghana which is as low as 4.5 dollars compared to the World Bank benchmark of between 15 and 40 dollars.
MP for Okaikwei, Patrick Yaw Boamah, said “this is a serious issue that borders on all of our people and it is my hope that when it is being processed as a bill, both sides will remain resolute in our consensus position”.