Ghana's Economy Under Threat?By Charles Benoni Okine - Daily Graphic
4/26/2012 8:32:57 AM -
The sustainability of the country’s impressive economic performance over the years is being threatened by the huge cost on the management of sanitation situation.
It has been revealed that the poor sanitation situation in the country is causing the state some GH¢420 million per annum.
The amount, which is 1.6 per cent of the country’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a report released by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).
The report which is from a desk study, Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa – Ghana, established that about 74 per cent, constituting the majority of these costs come from the annual premature death of 19,000 Ghanaians from diarrheal disease, of which 5,100 children under the age of five, constituting nearly 90 per cent is directly attributable to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Health-related costs, it said accounted for nearly 19 per cent of the total economic costs, while access time and productivity losses accounted for about seven per cent.
According to Mr Yolande Coombes, Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist with WSP, “We have known for some time about the impact of poor sanitation on health, but this is one of the first studies to quantify the annual costs incurred because of poor sanitation.
The study also found 4.8 million Ghanaians have no good places of convenience. The issue of sanitation has become a major problem in the country as city authorities’ battle to keep the situation under control.
In other developed countries, waste is a resource because it is used as a source of power generation and also processed into manure to agriculture.
The case of Ghana is however different because the huge refuse generated is not properly collected and managed.
There are reports that landfill sites in Accra for instance are full and the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) is now being forced by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to relocate to avoid what it described an epidemic
The poor sanitation problem has made Accra, the capital city an area which affected by cholera on an annual basis.
Recent reports points to dozens of deaths from cholera and it is also indicative that the situation is also the cause of the high prevalence preventable diseases.
Some analysts have described the situation as worrying particularly at a time when the economic managers have stressed their commitment to ensure that the economy does not slip.
But the the London-based Head of Macro-economics and Regional Head of Research for the Africa Region of Standard Chartered Bank,
Ms Razia Khan, have allayed fears about any slippages in the country’s present economy as the country prepares for an election.
She believes that “despite the recent granting of an 18 per cent public-sector wage hike, there are a number of reasons why we believe a repeat of the 2008 slippage is unlikely”.
In a report made available to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS, she made reference to the 2008 slippage in the economy in an election year and explained that “The deficit then was the outcome of spending on a number of one-offs, claims relating to the hosting of high-profile events such as the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2007 and CAN 2008, as well as the energy-sector crisis of mid-2007 which necessitated greater oil imports”.