General News of Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) is indebted to solid waste contractors to the tune of GHS4.315 million.
The amount is part of a GHS9.1million arrears accrued by the assembly from July 2009 to May 2010, partial payment of which the government made in 2011.
The assembly is also expected to pay an additional GHS1.723 million to Messrs Meskworld Company Limited, being the cost of dumping solid waste at the company’s Anyaa landfill site from January to December 2010.
The non-payment of the arrears, according to some of the contractors, is responsible for the prevailing poor sanitation situation facing the capital, Accra.
The AMA has constantly blamed solid waste contractors for the poor sanitation in the city, but some of the contractors said the assembly was not justified in the accusation, stating that it must settle arrears due them for them to augment their equipment and work at peak.
The AMA, before the introduction of the performance-based solid waste collection system, also known as the polluter pays principle (PPP), was paying for the collection and haulage of solid waste generated by residents.
Its financial burden, however, reduced by 80 per cent when it introduced the PPP in 2010.
“We, therefore, do not see why the AMA should not be able to raise this money which we have worked for,” a distraught solid waste contractor told the Daily Graphic.
According to some of the contractors, they were currently not operating at their peak, as some of their trucks had broken down, adding that “without adequate funds to repair them, some have remained in the shops for months”.
Under the PPP system, solid waste contractors are expected to register households, provide them with refuse containers and collect the bills at the end of the month.
“How do you expect us to do all these when our capital is locked up?” a contractor who pleaded anonymity asked.
He indicated that the new system demanded a lot of fuel, since contractors now shuttled from house to house to collect the garbage, unlike in the past when they lifted skips at the central container sites.
“As far as I am concerned, disaster is imminent if we are not paid now,” the contractors stated, and explained that most of them had exhausted their sources of borrowing, as the banks and other financial institutions and fuel stations were no longer interested in giving them funds.
The AMA has written to the Ministry of Local Government to help it settle the arrears owed Liberty Waste Ltd, Catrol Company Ltd, Meskworld Enterprise, Vicma Waste Company, ABC, Mohas Trading Company, Daban Cleaning Services and J. Stanley Owusu.
The rest are Jekora Ventures, Asadu Royal and Zoomlion.
“We write to inform you that the AMA owes its solid waste contractors and bulldozer operators an amount of four million, three hundred and fifteen thousand, seven hundred and ninety-nine Ghana cedis (GHS4,315,799) and request financial assistance,” a letter signed by the Metro Coordinating Director, Mr Sam Ayeh-Datey, stated.
“We hope that if the arears are paid, it will go a long way to sustain the fee and performance based solid waste collection programme and enable our contractors to inject more equipment into the operation to enhance effective collection of solid waste in the metropolis,” it added.
Checks at the AMA indicated that the letter, which was addressed to the Chief Director at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, had reached the Ministry of Finance for the necessary processes.