It is indeed a great honour for me to stand before this august gathering today, to undertake the simple task of welcoming you to this very important function and also to express my Ministry’s gratitude to you for taking the time to attend the launch of the National Sanitation Campaign.
Ordinarily, this should be a rather short and simple address and even though I intend to make it brief, as the Sector Minister, I cannot resist the temptation to take advantage of this great opportunity, to make a few remarks on the subject of sanitation and the value chain of waste management, especially at it pertains to Ghana.
Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, in today’s waste management context worldwide, waste is not seen as rubbish. Indeed, waste is regarded as a resource or to put it in another way, WASTE IS WEALTH; or even better yet, in Ghana, where we call waste “bola” one would have to say that BOLA IS MONEY.
However, it must be added that it takes the full complement of other inputs to be able to convert that waste into wealth or the bola into money. In order to make this happen, it requires the enabling policy framework, adequate land, specialized trucks and modern equipment as well as the right mix of human resource capacity to transform the waste to wealth. I might also add that the access to dedicated credit facility, like we have had for agriculture, trade and water is equally important but is missing in the waste value chain.
Your Excellencies, we concede also, that the state has seen scattered and poorly managed financial resources for the waste collection and has also operated with a week database that impedes our ability as a nation, to fashion out viable projects, engage value- for- money contracts and do effective monitoring of our progress in the water and sanitation sector. The absence of readily available mini transfer stations within the communities to facilitate the rapid collection and haulage of solid waste particularly in the urban areas for instance, remain a challenge.
Mr. President, as you know the Ministry has taken cognizance of all these issues, and measures have been commenced to streamline the processed and to consolidate the public funding of the sector. Capacity building to support the new Ministry has started and so has the construction of mini transfer stations in Accra and the regional capitals to follow suit.
Your Excellencies. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, may I humbly share with you the experiences in other countries and how Ghana is positioning itself. In countries where the management of the waste value chain is done efficiently, less than 100% of waste generated ends up as the final residue that is actually disposed of. In some cases such as Singapore, only 2% of actual waste generated is the final residue that is disposed of. This means that the value-added processing of waste will not require huge land fill sites as we have currently in Abokobi/ Pantang or Kpone. It is our Resolve as a Ministry to take the country on this route and make the likes of Abokobi/ Pantang and Kpone a thing of the past.
With waste as resource being ploughed back into the economy, the model that is now accepted globally is referred to as the circular economy of waste management. Not secular in the Religious terms. In Ghana, we have barely scratched the surface of converting waste to wealth and definitely we have not applied this model yet. There is still a great potential in Ghana for business development, job creation and wealth generation in the sanitation sector that will also make Accra and Ghana clean.