Disaster looms as AMA fails to pay waste contractors

Operations of solid waste contractors in Accra are grinding to a halt due to the inability of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to pay a GH¢9.1 million arrears accrued from July, 2009 to May, 2010.

The situation poses a great challenge to ensuring sanitation in the metropolis.

In an interview with some of the contractors in Accra, they stated that they were not operating at full capacity because they did not have enough funds to regularly maintain their trucks, buy fuel and meet other operational costs.

“Disaster is imminent if contractors are not paid in the next one month,” one of the contractors stated and explained that most of them had exhaust­ed avenues of borrowing such as the banks and other financial institu­tion and fuel stations.

The AMA introduced the Performance-Based Fee Paying Solid Waste Management system in June, last year, which placed virtually all the responsibilities for the collection of garbage from households to the final disposal sites on the contractors.

The contractors were assigned to various sub­-metros where they regis­ter garbage from households in their area of jurisdic­tion under the programme with an additional burden of providing refuse con­tainers to each household.

In compound houses, more refuse containers were provided.

In return, the contrac­tors were asked to charge each household AMA­ approved fees ranging from GH¢3.00 for resi­dents in low-income areas to GH¢9.00 in high-income areas to be paid monthly for the running of the companies.

Months into the running of the new pro­gramme the contractors said they had still not received arrears for work they had undertaken since 2009, which would enable them to augment their vehicles, refuse skips and other equip­ment needed for the effective management of their companies.

One of such contractors who pleaded anonymity stated that the new system demanded a lot of fuel, since contrac­tors now shuttled from house to house to collect the waste unlike in the past when they only lifted skips at the central con­tainer sites.

Reacting to concerns raised by the contractors, the AMA Chief Executive, Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, confirmed the assembly’s indebted­ness to the waste contrac­tors and explained that AMA had officially written a letter to the government through the Ministry of Local Govern­ment and Rural Develop­ment to request the Min­istry of Finance to release the money for the con­tractors.

“AMA recognises the difficulties of the contractors and is doing its best, including giving them a permanent contract to regularise their work with the assembly,” he said.

Source: Daily Graphic

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