You are here: HomeNews2017 03 15Article 518997

Business News of Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Waive taxes on sanitation machinery - ESPA

The President of the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, has called on the government to waive taxes on the importation of sanitation machinery into the country.

According to him, private waste management companies require such support to thrive and to keep the country clean.

Dr Agyepong made the call when he led a seven-member delegation of the waste management association to call on the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, in Accra.

Meeting

The meeting was convened by the MESTI following a formal request from the ESPA Secretariat to engage the new government on the way forward in the environmental sanitation sector.

During his vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng indicated that he was going to prioritise recycling of waste to energy to address the myriad of challenges Ghana currently faced.

The ESPA executive members, therefore, engaged the minister to see how best to implement the suggestion in the short, medium and long term.

ESPA is an association of private waste management companies.

Members of the delegation included the Second Vice-President, Mr Dan Annan; Executive Secretary, Ms Ama Ofori Antwi; a Consultant, Mr Ben Laryea; and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Liberty Waste, Nana Ama Adobea.

Mr Claude Stanley Owusu and Victor Schaffer also sat in for J. Stanley Owusu Company Ltd.

Dr Agyepong, who pledged the support of the association to the government, described ESPA as a strategic partner in sustainable waste management with an aim to contribute significantly to the ministry’s efforts in the sector.

“We are committed to serving with our experience. Some of our members have been working in this sector for between 15 and 20 years,” he stated.

Sidelined

Citing various instances, Dr Agyepong said the country’s private waste management companies had been sidelined often in the award of contracts in the areas of waste-to-energy projects and recycling.

“A number of memorandum of understanding (MoU) have been signed with foreign contractors but most at times, the local contractors are sidelined because it seems we don’t have the technology or ideas.

“ I humbly want to submit that we have all it takes and all the detailed analysis have been done, and at the right time we will tell you what is practical and what is not,” he stated.

Dr Agyapong added; “It may interest you to know that some of the foreign companies signed MoUs of which we are aware, and only took it to source for international funding,” he said.

Plastics for furniture

Dr Agyepong described plastic waste as money because it was currently being recycled by different companies, saying it would no longer pose a threat to the environment if the government placed a higher premium on it.

“Many medium and small-scale enterprises are already into plastic waste recycling but the government is required to inject capital to scale up such activities for its impact to be felt.

“Zoomlion Ghana Ltd, for instance, has 180 recycling machines and is ready to partner the government in its recycling agenda.

“Because of the energy conservation issues, our wood stock is dwindling so we are looking at how we can use the plastics to produce furniture. Our team here has all the capacity; the only things we lack are laws and support,” he explained.

EPA regulation

Dr Agyepong also told Prof. Frimpong-Boateng and his team, including the Chief Director, Madam Salimata Abdul Salam, of the negative ramifications of a new regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place the controlling of tricycle operators in the hands of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).

Currently, ESPA regulates the activities of tricycle operators under the ‘ESPA Tricycle Scheme’ but that might change, should the EPA regulation go the full mile.

“Since these operators are unable to travel all the way to Kpone Landfill and the Nsumia dump site, it is important that they are regulated and monitored adequately so that they do not dump anywhere and anyhow,” Dr Agyepong advised.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng commended members of the association for their role in Ghana’s environmental space.

He, however, stressed the need for a more rigorous campaign to change the attitude of Ghanaians, particularly in relation to littering and indiscriminate disposal of solid waste.

“I am convinced that any country that cannot take care of its waste cannot develop. We need a lot of discipline to manage waste because we generate waste every day and anytime,” he noted.

He said the MESTI was ready and willing to work closely with members of the association for a cleaner and healthier country.