As part of our activities for 2018, Imani Africa has decided to focus some of its attention on sanitation.
Ghana’s President made two compelling statements on sanitation in his 2018 State of the Nation Address.
- “Urgent attention will be given to clearing of rubbish all around the country. Apart from the systematic efforts being made to resolve the legacy of inherited debts in the sector, government will spend an amount of GH¢200 million to address the issue of sanitation.”
- “Government is working with various private sector authorities to tackle this major challenge with strategies that are intended to effect a change in our attitudes towards waste and filth as well as improve dramatically our methods of waste management. This will be complemented by the strict enforcement of sanitation rules and regulations.”
The past 20 years has seen Ghana (especially Accra and major cities) wrestle and continually fail at sanitation and refuse management. We have had national mobilizations led by Presidents cleaning gutters as a show of leadership to expensive municipal projects and huge private sector involvement in the bid to get a handle on sanitation and refuse management, all have failed, leading to Ghana being known as a global power in open defecation, deaths due to cholera, and Accra being rated as a very dirty city in publications both local and foreign, an unbefitting accolade for a nation which holds itself out as a leader in Africa.
We have scored some victories though, small, such as stopping the dumping of faeces in the ocean at “Lavender Hill” raising a few private waste disposal companies including a multinational waste management company. Despite all these, Ghana has not solved its waste disposal problem and we don’t seem to have clarity on how to do it. Is it a district-based problem to be left to District Authorities, or it is a problem requiring the setting up of a Ministry of Sanitation? What is the role of Local Government, and what role does the private sector have to play?
At the core of the sanitation problem is a drive to understand the most basic problem, which is refuse disposal, or are there other reasons? Domestic and commercial entities in Ghana’s main urban enclaves do not have enough repositories to dispose refuse, leaving a huge problem in the hands of the associated municipal and district authorities.
- what is our sanitation strategy anyway and how sustainable is it?
- do we want sanitation to be publicly delivered or privately delivered, i.e. do we want state and municipal institutions to directly evacuate and manage waste or we want private companies to do it?
- how do we want to fund sanitation? Through general taxation or specific taxation?
- do we want direct payments by households and waste generators, or we want the district authorities to levy generally and apply the tax to sanitation?
- do we want private execution of waste management or public execution? Should the city and district authorities run their own waste management systems or we should outsource it to the private sector?
Can we agree that sanitation must be;
- publicly funded and publicly delivered – (i.e. through direct or specific taxes)
- publicly funded and privately delivered – (i.e. the state paying private companies to deliver sanitation)
- privately funded and publicly delivered – (citizens paying public authorities directly to deliver sanitation)
- privately funded and privately delivered – (citizens paying private companies directly to deliver sanitation)
- a mix of the above with each locality choosing which is best and the state regulating the industry
It is interesting to note that an amendment of the Customs and Excise Act in 2013 passed by Parliament determined that an excise duty of 10% of the ex-factory price on imported plastic and plastic products should be levied. The same law indicates that “not less than 50% of the revenue accruing under this tariff should be paid into a fund designated as the “Plastic Waste Recycling Fund”. By our records, an estimated amount of Ghc265m has been realized since the introduction of the excise duty and had the potential of providing us 950,000 waste bins, which would have reached every household had the idea been well implemented.
The issue that the Ghanaian public and all stakeholders should interrogate, as part of solving the sanitation problem is, why this “Plastic Waste Recycling Fund” (PWRF) has not been accounted for in the 4 years since the passing of this law, and why it has not been utilized for activities such as last mile domestic and commercial refuse disposal, while the most glaring problems have been the inability to control and regulate effectively that aspect of activity to any level of satisfaction?
In support of the President’s sanitation resolve and ensure that the good intentions do not end up becoming mere slogans, Imani Africa will be showcasing at a public lecture and forum, the problem and force intelligent discourse on understanding it and then attempt outlining solutions with stakeholders.
This will be kicked off by an inaugural fellowship lecture by our new fellow, Mr. Casely Ato Coleman, who will speak to the theme “Ghana’s Sanitation Policy and Strategy Failed? Whither forward?’’
There will also be a panel discussion, featuring The Minister of Water Resources &Sanitation, Mr. Joseph Kofi Kowe Adda, the Accra Mayor Mr. Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Representative of Private Waste Management Companies, Mr. Joseph Siaw Agyapong, Journalist Mr. Manasseh Azure Awuni and Mr. Casely Ato Coleman.
We invite you to participate in this national discourse to disassemble and understand the problems and issues and seek a solution to this serious problem.
We believe Ghana has the men, women, intelligence, resources and motivation to solve this problem.
The event will be moderated by Mr. Kofi Bentil, Senior Vice-President, IMANI AFRICA.
Date: March 20, 2018
Venue: The British Council
Media Partners: CITI FM, JOY FM
Lunch to follow.
Please as seats are limited, we will encourage you to confirm attendance early by contacting IMANI 055 430 9966 or via email through Josephine at email@example.com and copy firstname.lastname@example.org.