Accra, Aug. 17, GNA – Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, on Thursday tasked the newly inaugurated Governing Board of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to build a healthy team spirit.
He noted that there were so many factions at the EPA that was hindering effective operations and team work and, thus, urged the new Board to resolve such issues, saying; ‘A city that is divided against itself cannot progress’.
He said the EPA was the heartbeat of the Ministry and, therefore, its potentials must be exploited to the fullest in order to benefit the society.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng gave the advice at the inauguration of the 13-member Governing Board in Accra during which he administered the Oath of Office and Secrecy and entreated members to ensure a transformation at the Agency.
He urged the Board to complete and equip EPA’s Accra East Office in Tema with the necessary laboratory devices so that it could undertake chemical testing, adding; ‘Sustainable chemistry is a very important aspect of the Agency’s work’.
There was the need to open new EPA offices across the country and equip the existing ones so that they could operate effectively, especially in carrying out inspection of fuel stations and other facilities, he said.
Commenting on air pollution in industrial enclaves, he said there were many factories in Tema whose ambiance had been severely polluted from their operations and thus, tasked the EPA to undertake regular inspections to halt further pollution.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng disclosed that the Government would not continue the Green City project, which was supposed to house the latest environmental technology and facilities such as wind and solar energy.
However, he said, with the current financial predicament of the EPA, it would not be able to raise funds for the project, which would cost more than 100 million dollars.
Government has, however, started negotiations with the company that started the project to retrieve part of the money.
On small-scale mining, the Minister said government had suspended issuance of licences to small-scale miners and yet licences and permits were still being issued and urged the Board to stop it immediately.
He urged the Board to work towards improving staff remunerations and conditions of service as well as open up negotiation on the ceding of portion of the Agency’s internally-generated funds (IGF) to government.
According to the Minister, EPA was supposed to cede 34 per cent of its IGF to the Government.
He said the percentage was on the high side and that the Agency was supposed to retain the chunk of its IGF to be able to pay staff and equip the laboratories with the relevant machines to operate effectively.
Mr Kwesi Enyam, former Managing Director of Anglogold Ashanti, who is the Board Chairman, on behalf of the members, expressed appreciation to the President for the confidence reposed in them and gave the assurance that they would work assiduously to achieve their mandate.
He said the Board was determined to assist the Government to resolve the EPA’s human capacity, financial and operational challenges as well as the environmental challenges posed by the activities of illegal miners.
The Board members comprised; Mr Peter Abum Sarkodie, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Prof. Osmund D. Ansa-Asare, from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Mr Mustapha Tawiah Kumah, from the Ghana Standards Authority, and Mr. Fredua Agyeman, from the Ministry of Environment.
Others are; Mr Frank A. N. Sofo, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Franklin Kwaku Ashiadey, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Joseph Kofi Adusei, Ministry of Health and Mr Biney Isaac Nsarko, Ministry of Education.
The rest are; Mr Emmanuel Kojo Gyimah, Association of Ghana Industries, with the President’s nominees being Maame Kesewaa Eshun, Dr. Mohammed-Sani Abdulai, and Mr Oliver Boachie.
By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA