Joseph Siaw Agyepong, the President of Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), has urged government to pay the debt it owed waste management companies to enable them achieve their goal of making Ghana the ‘cleanest’ country in Africa.
He said ESPA had the capacity, expertise and equipment to solve Ghana’s sanitation woes, but would require government’s financial commitment to be able to achieve that.
“With government’s support, ESPA would solve all of Ghana’s sanitation problems.”
Mr Agyapong was speaking at ESPA’s second Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Accra on Wednesday, on the theme, “Sustainable Capitalization; as a Driving Tool to Improve Sanitation in the Country”.
The AGM brought together ESPA members from across the country and other partner stakeholders in the plastic waste industry.
He said the sanitation industry required huge capital investments and understanding of all players including government; who should initiate public-private partnerships in sanitary infrastructure development.
“Additionally, the industry requires a lot of technological innovation infusion to meet waste challenges of the time and the associated huge investment in extensive capacity development of the human resources,” he said.
Dr Agyapong, who is also the Executive Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies, noted that, with Ghana well equipped with professionals in its numerous universities, there was the need for the universities to prioritise sanitation courses.
“Government must also give full attention to the waste management industry in a holistic form in terms of development capitalization in handling the issues of environmental cleanliness.
He said already ESPA as a private waste management entity was taking care of Ghana’s waste management of all the various forms, namely; solid, liquid, medical, industrial, recycling, scrap dealing, janitorial and pest control and oil waste management.
Mr Agyapong said ESPA had introduced value addition to the waste sector through the building of transfer stations, medical treatment facilities, organic composting plants which produced fortifier, and Tidy Up, a mini-transfer station, which has also solved the informal sector’s problem of heaped and unattended to solid waste left on streets.
He said notwithstanding the strides ESPA had made in the past, there were still problems, and named the problems as logistical challenges with equipment, high interest on loans taken from banks, and over-dependence on overdraft facilities for operations as the major ones.
“The low enforcement of sanitation bye-laws, low service fees, and rate of revenue collection, inadequate final disposal sites, crisscrossing among member associations of ESPA, are the other lingering ones”, he said.
Mr Agyapong said to give effective collaboration, ESPA called on government to give member associations tax incentives such as free duty on sanitation equipment and accessories imported, tax waivers, and some form of subsidy in the payment of dumping fees coupled with the creation of more transfer stations.
He urged government to put in all measures to enforce existing laws aimed at ensuring compliance and attitudinal change in the citizenry towards environmental cleanliness.