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Gov't Moves To Change Solid Waste Into Power
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General News of Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Source: Statesman

Gov't Moves To Change Solid Waste Into Power

Government has begun discussions with some investors towards the recycling of waste for the generation of power to feed into the national energy programme of the country.

The move is to help reduce the energy burden of the country's power sources at Akosombo and Aboadze, which have failed to meet the country's energy needs, leading to the current national load shedding exercise.

The plan will see the construction of a modern central waste management treatment centre at 'Lavendar Hill,' close to the Korle Lagoon in Accra, which for a long time has been the final reception point for the capital's solid waste, and lead to the generation of electricity from the waste being recycled.

An 18m euro loan has already been sourced from the Belgian Government for the ambitious reconstruction of the Odaw basin, which is expected to begin next month and completed by June 2008. Water Resources, Works and Housing Minister, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang announced this at the 9th joint Government of Ghana-Development Partners' conference at Akosombo in the Eastern Region on Monday.

The Odaw stream, according to the Minister is being developed into an ecological centre, which will be free from pollution and the usual stench that engulfs the place. But, the biggest hurdle to Government's plan of rehabilitating and beautifying the Odaw drainage basin is the relocation of the settlers at Sodom and Gomorrah, who are to be resettled at a site near Amasaman.

The project was to have begun earlier this year but was halted to incorporate President Kufuor's directive for the reconstruction of the entire Odaw basin instead of just the 'Lavendar Hill', which is part of the Odaw stream. Mr. Owusu-Agyemang observed that not much progress has been achieved in the management of waste due to the lack of data by agencies tasked to oversee the implementation of such services.

He disclosed that Government, in collaboration with the Dutch government, is in the process of acquiring dredging equipment to dredge the Densu River and use the sand for the affordable housing projects being undertaken by his Ministry. This, according to him will not only reduce cost but will also go a long way to reduce the environmental degradation caused by sand winning.

On the provision of water, he announced Government's intention of bearing the five percent cost contribution for communities under the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, adding that people cannot be deprived of potable water because they are poor and therefore cannot pay.

"It will be suicidal to deny people water because they don’t have the means to purchase it," he stressed. The Minister used the occasion to appeal to the country's donors and development partners to team up with local firms in the execution of contracts. He further called for the break up of contracts and projects into smaller units to enhance the opportunities of local companies in bidding for projects.

He also called for a review of the packaging of donor funded contracts and projects. According to the New Juaben North MP, some donors fund huge programmes and projects which are often too complex and expensive for local contractors to bid for with any realistic chance of winning, a situation he described as leading to the death of local companies.

To compound the issue, most donors chose contractors from their countries, who in turn usually brought in their hired labour, depriving the locals of essential on-the-job training and skills acquisition, he added. This also has the capability to cripple the economy as profits are repatriated back home by these expatriate companies, he noted.On his part, the resident Manager of Alliance Française Developmare, a French development agency, Jean-Francios Arnal stated that the crucial conditions of eradication of poverty in Ghana strongly depend upon the completion of water supply objectives.

He said even though some successes had been chalked in the last couple of years, much will be needed to improve the existing pace of progress so that Ghana can effectively meet the Millennium Development Goal of 73 percent. He stressed the need for Government to prioritise water and sanitation and allocate enough budgetary provision for the sector, saying that the strong link between achieving the water and sanitation sector goal and other MDGs is not clearly articulated as resource allocations indicate.

He intimated that Government's budget for water and sanitation, about 2 percent, was low when compared to other African countries, who allocate about 10 percent of their budgets to the sector.

The conference brought together partners in the water industry to discuss and review programmes of the water and sanitation sector. It was under the theme, "Harmonising Approaches in Results Measurement and Management for Sanitation Services."

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