President directs MMDAs to clear waterways with immediate effect
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure that obstructions to the free flow of water, as well developments along waterways, are removed immediately.
They (MMDAs) are to also ensure the strict adherence of developers to the planning laws of Ghana, and sanction staff who have issued permits for structures to be built on waterways to serve as a deterrent to others.
The President gave the directives on Wednesday when he commissioned four ultra-modern dredging equipment belonging to Dredge Masters Limited (DML), a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies at Adjei Kojo in Ashaiman near Accra.
DML is a leading provider of dredging services in Ghana and across the African continent. The company has extensive experience in comprehensive integrated dredging and related services.
The President said to ensure strict compliance to those directives, a monitoring unit had been established at the Jubilee House, to report the progress of the implementation of those measures to him directly.
“I am, thus, putting all MMDCEs on notice. You will be held accountable for any breaches that result in damage from flooding. As President of the Republic, I will not allow the selfish acts of a few to jeopradise the collective futures of the rest of us.”
President Akufo-Addo also admonished “unpatriotic citizens” to stop the dumping of refuse into open drains.
“Regardless of the investment that is made in the construction of well-engineered drains, the indiscriminate disposal of solid waste into open drains and channels will reduce our capacity to end the problem of flooding.
“I urge all those engaged in such practices to put an end to it,” he charged.
The President noted with the threat posed by climate change leading to many coastal nations being susceptible to flooding, it is of the outmost necessity that the integrity of shorelines is regularly maintained.
“Climate change is already with us in Africa it is evidenced by the prolonged and intense droughts in Eastern Africa, unprecedented floods in Western Africa and indeed in Ghana.
“The depletion of rain forest along the equator and increase in ocean acidity around Africa’s southern coast, vastly altered weather patterns and climate extremes that are threatening agricultural productions, food security, health, water and energy security, all these are undermining Africa’s ability to grow, develop and bring prosperity to her long-suffering masses.”
Thus, Dredge companies, the President said, have, traditionally, contributed to coastal protection projects and the maintenance of shorelines, and have increasingly improved their engineering technologies to achieve this.
“For us, in Ghana, Dredge Masters has made significant contributions to this end, and the introduction, today, of two Ultra-Modern IHC Beaver and two IHC Workboats means that Ghana, and, indeed, the West African market have their own indigenous company, with the capability of dredging to a depth of 16 metres. We do not need to look outside anymore when it comes to the dredging of dams, reservoirs, ports, harbours and in land reclamation activities,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the vision of moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid, is being assisted by the support being offered by companies such as the Jospong Group.
“I want to use this occasion to restate that Government will continue to create an enabling environment for the private sector not only to survive, but also to thrive. We shall continue to help strengthen and empower private sector operators,” he said.
The President, who touched on the recent flooding in Accra, disclosed that since 2017, the government had spent GH¢450 million on the flood control programme, which has resulted in reduced incidence of flooding, particularly in the major flood prone areas in Accra, such as the Odaw drainage channel.
He said the fifth phase of the Accra Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater Alleviation Project, intended to ensure that the Odaw Channel is free of silt and debris, has been commissioned.
“Indeed, the construction of 19km of drains has been completed, whilst some 1,000km of drains have been excavated, rechanneled and maintained across the country, as part of efforts to reduce the perennial flooding of Accra,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo, however, admitted that more needs to be done to deal with the situation permanently, in view of recent events in Accra, and assured that, “Government will continue to work towards the day when Ghanaians, especially those in Accra, will live in calm and tranquillity through the rainy season.”
Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, the Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, said the introduction of the ultra-modern IHC beaver 50 dredger and marine equipment is aimed at bring the dredging capacity of the Dredge Masters to an all new level.
“As we provide this equipment, I like to admonish my fellow citizens to desist from throwing waste into water bodies. This is because all the investments been made in this sector will not yield the expected results if our attitude does not change,” he said.