EPA says it objected to construction of Accra Mall at current location, but was ignored

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it objected to the construction of the Accra Mall at its current location because of concerns that it would worsen the traffic situation in the area, but was ignored.

Mr Kojo Agbenor-Efunam, Deputy Director in charge of Oil and Gas at the Environmental Protection Agency told ghanabusinessnews.com that, “The EPA objected to  the construction of the Accra Mall at its current location because of traffic reasons but the Urban Roads in their traffic management plan said the traffic situation could be managed and therefore went ahead to issue a permit.  We could not stop them from going ahead because they have the final say on that issue.”

Mr  Agbenor-Efunam was reacting to accusations against the EPA for the misconduct of companies in the extractive industries.

He said, “the EPA is not the sole authority on issuing permit” and as such could not be held liable for any wrong doings.

He explained that there are other regulatory bodies that also issue permits and theirs is the final permit.

“Before we ok an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) we will ask the proponent to have consultation with the necessary service provider(s) whose services are likely to be affected. Our permits only facilitate the client or proponent to obtain the final permit from the appropriate regulatory body,” he added.

An EIA is the process for the orderly and systematic identification, prediction and evaluation of the likely environmental, socio-economic, and cultural and health effects of an undertaking and the mitigation and management of those effects. It is undertaken by the proponent and approved by the EPA.

He emphasized that after the EPA issues its permit, notification is given to all the appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies whose services would be affected by the proponent’s operation, adding that “we always insist on continuous consultations with the appropriate bodies before commencement of the intended project in order to adequately address any concerns they might have.”

Civil Society groups and communities in the mining, oil and gas industries have accused the EPA for the wrongful acts of companies in the extractive industries.

Many of the negative environmental and social impact issues facing communities affected by the extractives industries in Ghana have been placed on the door step of the EPA.

One of the major areas that the EPA has been heavily criticized in is the deteriorating road networks in the western corridor due to the operations of companies in the extractive industries.

A civil society group like KITE has insisted that the EPA should be held accountable for some of the actions and inactions of oil companies. It argues that by approving the EIA of the operators and giving them licenses, the EPA has agreed with their operational practices.

But Mr Agbenor-Efunam pointed out that when it comes to issues relating to road the Urban Roads under the Ministry of Roads and Highways will have the final say on any project that might affect the roads network and therefore will issue the final permit for the commencement of the intended project.

In the same vein, if the intended project starts having negative impacts on the road network, it is the Urban Roads in the District Assemblies who should be held accountable and not the EPA, he said.

He insisted that a lot of the problems that the EPA is trying to solve should rather be dealt with by the local assemblies.

By Gilbert Boyefio

1 Comment
  1. BB says

    Ghana developer has no planning the same way they put highway right in the middle of the city. For 55yrs our leaders with all the education still think backwards with slave mentality. Ghana and the rest of Africa still remain backwards with no planning in terms of Agriculture mechanisation, basic drinking water, electricity, gas line, fiber optics etc

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