21.06.2006 General News

Parks And Gardens Collapsing

By Times
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The Department of Parks and Gardens is on the verge of collapse as it is deprived of modern equipment and personnel.

George Owusu Afriyie, Director of the department made this known at a meeting between the new Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Stephen Asamoah Boateng and the staff of the department during a familiarization visit to the head office of the department in Accra yesterday. The department, established in 1988, is responsible for the development of nation's landscape and the preservation and beautification of the environment, but has not been able to function well due to inadequate resources.

Currently, he said the department has only two 15-year-old tipper trucks, a mower, a 14-year-old water tanker and four pick-ups for operations in Accra, Kumasi and Aburi. The other regional capitals have no means of transport.

In addition, some of the workers said during an open forum that they did not have gloves, shovels and pick-axes.

With regard to staffing, Mr. Afriyie said inadequate personnel were a major challenge facing the department which has offices nationwide and also takes care of the Peduase Lodge, Castle Gardens and Aburi Gardens.

“We have less than 30 trained technical officers within the department nationwide. This id due to our inability to engage the technical officers trained at the school of Horticulture since 1999.

“The present staff strength is inadequate for effective and efficient implementation of programmes,” he stated.

The Department, he said, paid over a generated over ў700 million in 2005 which was paid to the government, adding that a Cabinet decision taken in 2002 for part of the internal generated revenue to be retained for investment in the department has not been implemented.

“Lack of adequate funds, labour, and equipment have had serious implications for delivery of quality horticultural services in the country, he said.

Mr. Asamoah Boateng, addressing the workers, expressed his unhappiness about the condition in the department, saying that the measures must be found to address the challenges.

He said the department had a huge potential which should be exploited to among other things solve the environmental problems in the country.

He noted the department was vital in the environmental and sanitation management in the country and that there was the need for it to be support.

The Minster assured the staff of the ministry's support and urged them to give off their best

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