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Buildings in waterways face demolition — Cecilia Dapaah

BY: Edmund Smith-Asante
Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah (5th left), the Minister of  Sanitation and Water Resources and her deputies with members  of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing, Sanitation and Water, during the visit. EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI
Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah (5th left), the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources and her deputies with members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing, Sanitation and Water, during the visit. EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

People who have their properties in waterways may soon lose them because they will be pulled down to make way for floodwaters to control flooding in the country, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, has hinted.

The minister said an inter-ministerial committee, made up of the ministries of Sanitation and Water Resources,  The Interior and Works and Housing working through the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), would soon be put together to oversee that exercise.

She was, however, unable to tell when the committee would start working, saying “it is not only my ministry. It is across three ministries so it will take some time.”

Ms Dapaah gave out the caution during a courtesy call on her by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing, Sanitation and Water, to have first-hand knowledge of the plans and challenges of the ministry which falls under its ambit.

Flood control

“The issue of flood control is a concern to this committee.  

Fortunately for us, it is also a concern for the President so we are putting together an inter-ministerial team.

This will be made up of our Ministry – Sanitation and Water Resources, Works and Housing and the Interior, through NADMO, to have one package to fight the incoming rains,” she stated.

She added that the funds that would be sourced would be used “to desilt our gutters to clear and dredge the drains to make sure that those who have even built on waterways that are impediments will be dealt with and we are going to work within the scope of the assemblies as well.”

Ms Dapaah said  the ministry had a solar system coming on stream, the first in Africa that would use a cashless payment system to purchase rural water.

She told the Select Committee that the ministry would need the assistance of Parliament to see to the implementation of the venture under the Aqua Africa project when it got to the House.

She commended the committee for being very diligent in its work but said the best was yet to come out of them.

Ms Dapaah said the ministry was ready to partner the committee “so that we can move the agenda of the ministry forward.”

She said the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) project and the Greater Accra Sustainable Sanitation and Livelihood Improvement Project (GASSLIP) were two very important projects that were helping to make Accra better in environmental issues, as well as in the provision of household toilets and water.

“We couldn’t have had a better deal from the African Development Bank and the World Bank,” she said.

She expressed the hope that things could be scaled up to reach other regions, saying that for the past years, the ministry had been able to get about 40,000 household toilets for Ghanaians and “we need to work hard to provide most of these facilities for our people.”

Select Committee

The Chairman of the 18-member Select Committee and also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Upper Denkyira East, Nana Amoakoh, said the visit and courtesy call was to deliberate with the minister and see the way forward in the ministry.

The Ranking Member for the committee and MP for Ho West, Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, said the visit was in line with their mandate to “pay regular visits to the various ministries that we supervise or have oversight and also have opportunity to discuss challenges and see the way forward.”

He informed the minister that the committee now had a new female member – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Domeabra-Obom, Mrs Sophia Karen Edem Ackuaku and together with the NDC MP for Afram Plains North, Ms Betty Crosby Mensah, there were now two ladies and expressed the hope that the two women would help push the sanitation agenda.

Milestones in sanitation, water

A Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr Michael Yaw Gyato, said the ministry was encouraging waste separation to reduce the volume of waste sent to the country’s landfill sites.
 
Also ongoing was the training of environmental health officers so that they would be able to prosecute people who fell foul of sanitation bye-laws, he added.

“Generally speaking, there has been improvement in the sanitation sector and because there has been improvement, there has been a reduction in the number of sanitation-related cases,” he said.

Another Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr Patrick Boamah, said in line with the President’s “Water For All” vision, many loan agreements had been approved, including the Upper East Supply System that would provide water for about 180,000 citizens with a loan of about €38 million.

He indicated, however, that the ministry faced a lot of challenges in funding and the slow rate at which some of the loan agreements were reached.