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22.06.2004 General News

IFC Loan Fiasco Keeps AMA Vigilant

By Chronicle
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US coy to AMA's aid ... Wants contract to convert solid waste into riches

AT A time that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) was deliberating about where next to dump waste after the Oblogo landfill, a company from the USA, Wilcord Corporation, has tendered for a ¢75billion ($8million) contract to convert the waste of the metropolitan into riches. Wilcord Corporation in Michigan has processed a turnkey operation called the carbonization, which could produce rail sleepers, fence posts and blocks from the waste.

The Chronicle learnt that when trash is placed in a pit and transferred to a shredder by conveyor and then to the carbonization where two dry additives are added, the waste transfers to a chamber where it is extruded through a special die to form a product.

The Chronicle gathered that the carbonization machine does not emit any toxic gases into the atmosphere or liquids to the ground; the union of mechanical and chemical action is the main point of operation.

The standard carbonization system that weighs 55000 lbs was 50feet long, seven feet wide and eight feet high is safe, fast and efficient.

According to experts, assuming the costs of metropolitan solid waste sent to a landfill a year was about ¢50billion, the system would amount to a cheaper cost of about ¢33billion per year.

The experts also noted that the product could be used for all the purposes of wood and it is longer and stronger than wood since it does not decay.

When the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh Ibrahim Codjoe Quaye, was contacted he confirmed that a company had tendered in its application and that the ministry had contacted Ghana's embassy in the USA to do a background check on the company.

The Regional Coordination Director, Mr. Fats Nartey, said the only problem they had with the company was that even though they had seen documents confirming the existence of the company no one from the ministry had yet witnessed its operations.

He said the ministry was about to take the samples of the product submitted by the Wilcord Corporation to the laboratory to verify how it could adapt to weather changes in the country.

He added that, “because of our experiences from the IFC loan and the Quality Grain saga, I have been advising the minister that until we see for ourselves we are not going to release any money for them or else we may cause financial lost to the state.”

He said the ministry was struggling over what to do with the waste in the metropolis since all the advanced countries had adapted to the use of waste for recycling or composite.

He said the method of using waste for dump fill had been difficult because the land always filled up in no time.

“We went to Mallam in the 80s, it was a big quarry site but it got full, then we went to Jaman but within six months the place got full, and now we are at Oblogo, which is a big hole, but within a year it will get full very soon,” he reiterated.

He said it was very expensive to pay contractors to collect and dump waste so the ministry had been looking for a company that could change the waste to a product that was useful.

He stressed that the Kwabenya landfill a lone had been estimated to cost the government about ¢85 billion (five million pounds) only at the initial stages.

Mr. Nartey said lack of capacity had been a problem for collection of waste since the contractors collected about 1200metric tonnes out of the 1600metric tonnes of waste generated every day.

He said if the products were confirmed to be good by forensic report, most of the problems with waste would be solved since the factory would be located in Ghana.

According to Mr. Nartey, “when it works it means all the waste we have in the municipality would be sent there, the Kumasi-Accra railways issue would be solved and roofing sheets would be produced.”