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12.05.2008 General News

Heaps of refuse in Accra: Hold AMA responsible; you collect the fees, so clear the refuse, says Local Govt Minister

By The Statesman

The Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Kwadwo Adjei Darko, has told residents of the capital to hold the Accra Metropolitan Assembly responsible for the growing heaps of refuse scattered all over the city.

According to the Minister, since the AMA is responsible for the collection of fees for waste management under the decentralised local government system, it is incumbent upon it to also clear all the refuse in the capital city to make it livable and prevent the outbreak of disease.

The Minister, in an exclusive interview with The Statesman last week, said government had no plans to take up the AMA's responsibility by paying off debts the city administrator owes waste management contractors.

Private waste contractors are said to be reluctant to clear the refuse in the capital city due to non payment of fees owed them by the AMA.

This has led to a pile up of waste in all parts of Accra especially, Kaneshie, Agbogbloshie, Tema Station and other business districts.

AMA is said to be owing private waste management contractors about GH¢ 1 million and is allegedly refusing to settle the debt due to what it terms a lack of funds.

He accused the AMA of collecting huge sums as property rates, garbage fees and taxes from all sorts of businesses and refusing to sanitise the capital city with some of the generated revenues.

"AMA, as well as other Assemblies should realise that waste collection and management is a very important aspect of their duties. I want them to have a dedicated account for refuse collection to serve these purposes since we will not share their burdens with them", he stated.

"We have increased the District Assembly Common Fund from 5% to 7.5% which is now significant for them to embark on whatever project they want to and we can't use funds meant for the payment of government workers to settle debts incurred by AMA. If they think they have no money, they should declare bankruptcy, and then government will come in and collect the revenues on their behalf to pay the debts."

According to Mr Adjei Darko, Accra is the only metropolis that is experiencing a waste problem. He said the Tema Municipal Assembly, which receives annual revenue of about GH¢60million has managed to consistently and constantly fulfilled its waste management obligations and wondered why AMA cannot do the same thing.

If government steps in to settle the indebtedness of the AMA, it would set a bad precedent, he argued.

Meanwhile, the heaps of refuse are rising by the day.

By slarge

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