The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) is indebted to six sanitation providers to the tune of GH₵100 million.
This came to light on Wednesday when members of the Environment and Sanitation Sub-Committee of the KMA called on the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Madam Cecilia Dapaah, in Accra.
According to James Nana Prempeh, chairman of the 13-member sub-committee, the debt which was accumulated over a period of 20 years, was hampering effective delivery of sanitation services in the metropolis.
"This debt which hangs on the neck of the KMA was accumulated more than a period of 20 years. When we observe a defect in the sanitation services these companies are providing in the metropolis and we draw their attention to it, they tell us because we owe them, they are unable to buy the right logistics for their work. The situation is a huge problem for us in maintaining high sanitary standards in the metropolis," he said.
Mr Prempeh said, although the companies were providing sanitation services, they were facing logistical challenges, adding that the KMA was forced to take over the management of a landfill because the company contracted to do so was constrained.
In order to deal with the immediate sanitation challenges, he appealed to the ministry to support the KMA to evacuate heaps of refuse scattered around the city and rehabilitate the road network to the landfill site at Oti, an area within the metropolis.
In her remarks, Madam Dapaah stated that government was focused on ensuring that local authorities were able to meet their obligation of providing sanitation services, expatiating that, "the focus is to use waste to create wealth through the creation of waste recycling factories for the needed jobs for the country's teeming youths."
She said the ministry would continue discussions with the companies to develop the best means to resolve their challenges.
In a related development, the Environmental and Sanitation Providers Association (ESPA), led by its president Dr Joseph Siaw Agyapong, paid a courtesy call on the minister to renew partnership and collaboration towards the realisation of the government's vision to keep the country clean.
As part of the new measures, Madam Dapaah said the ministry would henceforth monitor and rate the services provided by the various companies to inform future decisions, and ensure that government was not short-changed.
"The new approach is that we will begin to monitor and rate the services you provide to Ghanaians. Government must get value for money and not be short-changed and we must not also be short-changed. We will not accept it if work is not done appropriately," she stated.
Dr Agyapong reiterated the commitment of ESPA to collaborate with government to propel the achievement of the President's vision to make Ghana clean, hinting that the group would soon develop modalities for all members to ensure members provide standard services.