Members of the Parliamentary Select Committees on Sanitation, Water Resources, Finance, Works and Local Government have called on the government to support the operations of waste recycling company, Zoomlion in order for them to be sustainable to help phase out all landfills.
The Parliamentary Select Committee members made the call during a working visit to some waste treatment sites in the Western Region, including the Sofokrom landfill site in Sekondi, which they described as dangerous to the environment.
Speaking to Citi News after the committee members visited the construction site of Zoomlion’s GHS 55 million Integrated Recycling and Compost plant as well as the Water treatment plant at Asekai in the Effia-Kwesimintsim Municipality, a ranking Member of the Finance Select Committee, Isaac Adongo, urged government to ensure such private investments in waste management are successful.
“You would have heard that during the approval of the budget, there was a special levy for sanitation and you would have heard some of us say that we are budgeting about 90 million for sanitation but we are generating 300million from that tax. What we were subsequently made to believe at committee was that government was seeking to use part of that funding to pay for the services of these facilities. Because this businessman must be assured that there’s market and must be assured that somebody will pay the fee for the waste that is processed here. At this moment in time, can the ordinary citizens of Ghana pay for tertiary processing of waste? This is a question we have not fully addressed and therefore in the interim it appears government intends to be the sole financier in terms of providing the ready market for this facility and we want to see whether when this project is done, the pricing in terms of the fee, the cost of building this plants and what the state will be paying to this facility to process this plant”, he said.
Isaac Adongo also called for an extended conversation on the sustainability of these facilities after the initial support from government runs.
“if at some point government says that I am tired of funding this and it becomes something that the private investor must look to the public to pay for, what will be the framework of what the people can pay to have waste processed here? We are looking at a long term sustainable solution to the business and that conversation will happen after. No businessman will come and pump GHS55 million if he’s not assured that initially, we’ll underwrite the risk. That risk is written by the government through the tax arrangement, and our responsibility is to sure that the people of Ghana, when they are paying for these taxes for processing, are getting value for it. So that’s the extent of support that I know the government will give for encouraging the private sector to do it but of course a private sector business must look beyond government at some point in time,“ he added.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government, Emmanuel Gyamfi, also said the poor current state of landfills seen in Sekondi makes a case for government’s support to Zoomlion, which has committed to constructing recycling plants across the country.
“I believe that for the unhygienic state of landfills we have visited and will continue to visit across the country, this is the time that we need support the private sector to also partner government to deliver on our challenging sanitation situation. This, I believe, that Zoomlion Company Limited is doing well and we need to encourage it to support government in this initiative,” he said.
The Managing Director of Zoomlion’s Waste Landfills, Peter Dagadu, briefing members of the joint Parliamentary Select Committees said Zoomlion’s the GHS55 million Integrated Recycling and Compost and Water treatment plant at Asekai in the Effia-Kwesimintsim Municipality is one-stop waste treatment facility.
“This waste recycling plant, which construction is expected to be completed by June this year, is a one stop-shop-solution for waste management in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Area. It also hopes to extend its serves to neighboring assemblies including Ahanta West, Effia-Kwesimintsim Municipality and Shama. We are projecting that within the next 20 years, when you combine the population of Sekondi-TAKORADI and EKMA, we are expecting about 800,000 people and this will require a facility like this that can absorb all the waste, not just the solid waste but the liquid waste too. The waste water facility here can treat 1,000 cubic meters of liquid waste daily, hence this facility is being built for the future,” he said.
Mayor of Sekondi Takoradi, Abdul Mumin Issah, who joined the parliamentarians on the tour told Citi News he is hopeful that the Zoomlion compost plant will address waste management issues in the Sekondi-Takoradi area.
“As soon as this project comes into force, the Sokokrom landfill site automatically has to be closed down, because there would be a better alternative where we can channel all our waste to. There wouldn’t be any point in managing the landfill site which is highly expensive to manage,” he said.