Business News of Wednesday, 10 October 2018
Ghana risks losing a €60 million subsidy facility from the Netherland government to set up a solid waste recycling plant if the country fails to sign a partnership agreement on the project by the end of this month.
The project which has the capacity to recycle 20 tonnes of solid waste, incinerate 180 tonnes of the waste per day, and also produce five megawatts of electricity from the Tema landfill site, has been delayed over the years.
A partnership agreement that will spell out the local partners for the project and kick-start the process for the establishment of the facility has not been signed although a memorandum of understanding was signed by the former minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr Joseph Kofi Addah.
The Netherlands Ambassador, Mr Ron Strikker, who disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on the Sanitation Minister, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, yesterday, said the documents for the partnership agreement was at the Attorney-General’s department.
“The partnership agreement is currently at the A-G’s office and awaiting final approval before it is released to the sanitation ministry for signing with the respective partners which include Spaans Babcock and Global Communities.
“We need the minister to put pressure on the office of the A-G to get it done before the end of this week so that we can possibly sign the agreement by the end of next week because it is sad to lose the opportunity at a time that Ghana needs this facility most to tackle the sanitation challenge” he said.
The courtesy call was to strengthen the partnership between Ghana and the Dutch government and also address challenges in the WASH sector.
Mr Strikker explained that the incinerator project was to be set up at Tema, near the landfill site, but the land was given out to another company for a factory so alternative areas were sought in Accra.
He stated that the delay in the signing of the agreement was dire because the project guidelines required a local partner but it was not clear if the ministry would sign it or the partnership would be sealed directly with the Ga South and Ga Central municipal assemblies who are the main beneficiaries.
Mr Strikker further said that it was when the agreement was signed that energy licenses for the project could be sought.
“We need the Minister to act swiftly and support to push the process through to reduce the delays usually associated with the project,” he said.
Mr Strikker indicated that the Netherland government and other partners were involved in 15 other projects in the WASH sector which are at various stages of completion and implementation across the country.
One of such projects is the $10 million Tonon Water project at Navrongo in the Upper East Region which is still awaiting sod-cutting by the government before work can begin.
Mr Strikker said the Netherland government was also investing $4 million in the Lavender Hill project as well as other projects in the WASH sector at Tamale, Ho, and Cape Coast.
Responding to the concerns, Ms Dapaah said urgent steps would be taken ensure that the appropriate stakeholders played their part for the agreement to be signed so that the incineration plant can be established.
She also gave an assurance that the government would take steps to facilitate the process for the sod to be cut for work to begin on the Tonon water project.
The minister observed that the efforts being made by the Netherland government especially in the management of solid waste and human excreta was a good move and would receive the required support.
She noted that sustained efforts would be made to deal with open defecation as the ministry was leading the way to achieve the government’s agenda to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa.
“The efforts to end open defecation is a daunting one especially when there are a lot of slums, but we will take the bull by the horn to ensure that the clean Accra status is achieved as promised,” she stressed.