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26.11.2008 General News

4 Assemblies Owe Waste Firms GH¢30m

By Frank Octhere, Kumasi -

FOUR Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies owe a number of environmental service providers a total sum of GH¢30 million as at June this year.

The debt represents services rendered by the companies for waste collection and disposal in the country's four key-cities, Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tema - within the past  one-and-half years.

The service providers complain that the non-payment of the debt is making it difficult for them to maintain sanitation in the  four cities.

Apart from the inability to pay the salaries of their workers for many months, the service providers are heavily indebted to the banks, petrol filling stations and suppliers of sanitary materials, chemicals and equipment.

'Times' investigations indicate that the non-payment of the amount is the likelycause of the sanitation situation in the  four cities where appreciable improvement in the sanitation situation a couple of months ago is said to be giving way to the status quo of piled-up refuse and the possibility of the outbreak of an epidemic cannot be ruled out.

The poor sanitation situation in the four cities reached an alarming proportion early this year prompting government's intervention.

The personal intervention of President J.A. Kufuor last May resulted in the government's bailing out the assemblies half-way with the payment of almost 50 per cent of the total amount of  GH¢24,558,837.81 owed the service providers by the four assemblies as at January this year.

The  outstanding amount expected to be paid by the assemblies themselves  has since accumulated to nearly GH¢30 million and, once again, they are pleading with the government to intervene.