President Akufo-Addo exchanging pleasantries with Jerry John Rawlings whiles Nana Konadu and Kofi Addah look on
President Akufo-Addo has resolved to carry through his promise of ridding the country of filth by the end of his term of office.
To this end, he has issued a caveat for every government department and agency – including the seat of government (Flagstaff House) – to assign two officers each to be designated Sanitation Marshal and Deputy Marshal, to ensure compliance by their outfits and their staff of the laid down by-laws with regard to sanitation in their respective offices.
“The heads of departments have one week within which to identify and assign these officers. The Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate must take steps to train these appointed officers on their new roles within one month of their appointment,” President Akufo-Addo charged during the launch of National Sanitation Campaign in Accra yesterday.
He warned that henceforth, ministers, chief executives and chief directors of government departments and agencies would be held accountable for any failure to comply with this directive.
President Akufo-Addo revealed that a corps of young men and women – the National Sanitation Brigade – would see to the enforcement of rules and regulations on sanitation, whether in state establishments, in private establishments or households.
“The personnel of this outfit would conduct regular visits to all offices to ensure that there is compliance, and where it so requires, take legal action against those infringing on the laws,” he indicated.
As waste is generated every day, he said Ghanaians have an obligation to keep the environment clean every day, indicating that the citizenry have to do so daily and not on a monthly basis.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo therefore declared, “Everyday is a sanitation day,” recognising the fact that the government could not do it alone, saying, “This is where I wish to call on all of us, especially our chiefs and queen mothers, religious and opinion leaders, civil society organisations, private sector operators, to rise up to the challenge and help make a difference this time around.”
On his call for Accra to be the cleanest city in Africa, President Akufo-Addo pledged, “We will commence with the government business district, which covers the presidency, parliament house, the ministries, and the courts. We will focus on the ceremonial and arterial roads going in and out of the city to ensure that they are regularly cleaned up.”
He further assured, “We shall take special care of the airport, major hotels and shopping malls/centres. Residential areas and Zongos, Central Business District, including the inner city periphery, markets and lorry parks, university campuses, schools and hospitals, and beaches and public places of entertainment and tourist centres are all going to elicit special attention.”
Touching on the value chain of sanitation in Accra, President Akufo-Addo noted that rezoning the concessions, equipping of tri-cycle operators and construction of mini-transfer stations to facilitate the rapid collection and transportation of waste from the cities would be done.
Additionally, the deployment of automated sweepers in main streets and the deployment of Sanitation Brigade personnel along the streets and in major concentrations would be undertaken.
“I will not be left out of this exercise. I will be directly involved, as I intend to monitor activities of the national campaign, to ensure that its goals are attained. I will review, on a quarterly basis, with the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, the performance of each Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly, and publish the results of the review,” the president said.
He continued, “This campaign is not going to be a nine-day wonder. It will run over the entire period of my mandate to ensure that Ghana is clean. I remain committed to this, and I am determined to ensure that the job is done.”
President Akufo-Addo announced at the campaign launch that the government had taken measures to acquire, for the Accra Metropolitan Area, three new sites to serve as integrated material recovery sites to address the issue of disposal of waste.
The three sites are located at Otinibi, Nsumia Number 3 in the Nsawam Adoagyiri municipality and another in the Gbawe/Mallam area. Similar undertakings, he said, are being explored in the other regions to ensure that there are adequate, modern, engineered and environmentally acceptable sites for the processing of waste nationwide.
“I wish to stress that it is the policy of government to acquire and own these sites, in partnership with the private sector. Management service contracts of these sites will be awarded through a competitive tendering process. This policy will ensure fair play and avoid monopoly,” he added.
Government, the president disclosed, is also providing assistance to environmental service providers, who clean up the cities and the towns.
“These measures include assisting them with access to credit facilities, and defining a tax regime that will enable them procure new and effective tools for their work…Modern, new state-of-the-art trucks and equipment are of the utmost necessity to deliver on this objective, and I intend to make it happen,” he assured.
Notwithstanding, the president stated that indiscipline had been a major cause of the unsanitary situation in most parts of the country, adding that it is not in the nature of Ghanaians to be dirty.
“We keep our immediate surroundings at our homes very clean. However, for one reason or the other, when we step out of these immediate surroundings, we seem to ignore all of these positive attitudes. Successive Ghanaian governments have tried to reverse this trend and inculcate a habit of greater discipline in the care of our surroundings. It has not succeeded. My government intends to walk a new path,” he added.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent