The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has received Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment support to help it build a Compliance Electronic Monitoring system.
The equipment, worth 17,325 Euros, was presented by the European Union (EU) to be used in building the EPA’s compliance E-monitoring system to strengthen compliance in the natural resource exploitation sector.
Among the equipment were two drones, two desktop computers, two screens and their keyboards; one server, two printers, two tablets and a router.
The automated system is made up of different electronic tools that will boost the operations of the EPA, such as facilitating the monitoring permit holders, helping to assess the risk of non-compliance, helping to prioritise monitoring and site visits among other facilitations.
The support was given under an EU funded project known as the Accountability Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (ARAP) that aims at providing support for selected Ghanaian institutions in the bid to fight corruption.
The system will be piloted in the Upper Denkyira East Municipality, and following its evaluation, it will be expanded to cover three other districts, as part of the second phase of implementation.
Subsequently, the system will be adopted nationally and applied to the entire mining sector.
Hand over ceremony
In his remarks at a brief ceremony to hand over the equipment, the acting Charge d’ Affaires of the EU, Mr Sergio Piccolo, said enhancing the compliance and monitoring systems in a particular sector had been proven to be a powerful tool in preventing, deterring and fighting corruption.
He said the system would help improve information management systems which were key instruments for a more transparent and accountable governance.
“The EU is, therefore, pleased to support this priority area of the EPA’s mandate through the ARAP programme and wants to commend staff of both entities for initiating and delivering the project,” he said.
Mr Piccolo reiterated the EU’s commitment to support environmental protection, accountable management of natural resources and the fight against climate change, among many more commitments to Ghana.
He indicated that already the EU had supported Ghana in various sectors that were key to national development worth around 400 million euros.
The Director of the EPA, Mr John Pwamang, said one of the principal functions of the agency was regulatory, which it did mostly by issuing permits and following up to ensure that the permits were being used in compliance with the terms and conditions stipulated.
“However, ensuring compliance over the years has been a major challenge due to inadequate staff on the ground,” he said.
Mr Pwamang explained that that had resulted in the EPA’s decision to resort to technology “to make the compliance aspect of our mandate more effective and improve on monitoring.”
He expressed gratitude to the EU-ARAP for the support to make the technology based compliance monitoring dream a reality.
Mr Pwamang, however, said the EPA was very grounded in its mandate of processing permits, although the agency once in a while received public complaints about the slowness of the system.