President Nana Akufo-Addo has condemned the degree of filth and unhygienic conditions in most cities in the country.
“The state of sanitation in our cities is wholly unacceptable”, the president told parliament when he presented his second State of the Nation Address on Thursday, 8 February, adding that: “Our cities have been engulfed by filth”.
He, therefore, explained that: “There is the urgent need for public authorities to find means of making our cities clean, and, in the case of Accra, fulfilling my pledge, one of the most ambitious of my presidency, to make it the cleanest city in Africa, by the end of my term”.
The president said government is working with various private sector operators to tackle the major challenge, with strategies that are intended to effect a change in our attitudes towards waste generation, as well as to improve dramatically methods of waste management.
“This will be complemented by the strict enforcement of sanitation rules and regulations. Urgent attention will be given to clearing of rubbish all around the country.” he underscored.
Meanwhile, the Sanitation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, who is expected to play a key role in the realisation of the clean city objective, recently told his critics that he was not appointed by the president to go about sweeping the streets and collecting public waste.
In his view, those clamouring for his dismissal do not understand the purpose for which his ministry was set up.
“…You send me to a new terrain, totally virgin area, a place like this that the president wants things done in a very deep-seated manner and you want that to be done tomorrow. You want the minister to go out tomorrow with a broom and a wheelbarrow to collect the waste; that’s not the minister’s job,” Mr Adda said on Wednesday, 7 February.
“I think they [critics] have to understand that, and go back and understand: ‘What is the role of the ministry to start with and how should we collaborate with others?’ And I bet you by middle of this year, you’ll find a totally transformed sanitation sector in this country that will last the test of time,” he promised.
Assessing his performance in office over the past one year, Mr Adda said: “I’ve been effective as a minister responsible for policy and monitoring, for designing a system and structures that will bring about the fundamental transformation of the sector which is what we need in the first place.”
According to him, there are no quick-fixes when it comes to the sanitation sector, adding that he used the first year to put in place the basic structures and policies needed to ensure that Ghana becomes one of the cleanest countries in the world.
“The overnight solutions that people are looking for in the Sanitation Ministry, you’ll not get that today, tomorrow or so on and so forth; these fundamentals have to be set right and that’s what I’ve been most effective in getting set up properly.
“So, I cannot see more than the next three months or so, get all those things functioning very well and when they start functioning, it means that the system now is totally transformed and Ghana should be on the verge of becoming one of the cleanest countries in the world and Accra can be the cleanest city as well,” the former Navrongo Central MP said.