Procurement questions and feasibility issues are beginning to emerge over the number of sewage and solid waste treatment plants that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has cut sod for, while on his regional tours across the country.
The latest waste treatment plant to be awarded is what has been named the "Tema Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant and a Waste Water Treatment Plant" to address the environmental sanitation challenges confronting the industrial city, but many have started asking for the feasibility studies on that and similar facilities to be constructed across the country.
So far, about 10 of these facilities have witnessed sod-cutting by President Akufo-Addo and the Executive Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies (JGC), Joseph Siaw Agyepong, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zoomlion Ghana Limited (ZGL).
On October 8, 2020, President Akufo-Addo, cut sod for the construction of a solid waste treatment facility at Sharigu, in the Upper East Region to be established by the Jospong Group and its partners, in collaboration with the government.
Western, Western north, Eastern, Bono East, Ahafo, Bono, Upper West, Oti, Volta regions, amongst them, it is only the one constructed in the Ashanti region that has been completed and was last month commissioned.
But the observers, also want to know the designs and the cost of the facilities to Ghanaian taxpayers and sources of funding.
Furthermore, others are also demanding to know whether the contracts to Zoomlion, the leading waste management company in Ghana, went through a competitive bidding process or they were awarded through a restrictive process.
But there are claims that, the projects are initiative of Mr Siaw Agyepong, but it is just being touted as an idea of President Akufo-Addo, simply because of his association with the government as private partner, especially in an election period.
All the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, will be expected to transport all sold waste to the facilities at a cost to the government.
At the end of the day, the various waste plants which are being constructed across the country, will remain the creation of the Executive Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies.
The waste treatment factories have been described as part of government's flagship "One District One Factory" programme. They are to be completed in a short time of four months.
However, to many observers, the sod-cuttings for the construction of the sewage and waste treatment plants which have become the main event of the President's regional tours, are election gimmicks meant to hoodwink people especially in areas where government has not executed any infrastructure project to vote for the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
In some of the areas, the chiefs and people, were told after the sod-cutting that the project, was going to be completed in four mouths, however, The Herald is yet to obtain report on any of the ones which has started and whether they are likely to meet the deadline.
But while the questions beg for answers, the President, on Sunday cut yet another sod for the commencement of the construction of a sewer network and waste water treatment plant, and a solid waste treatment facility, at Tema with Zoomlion once again as the contractor.
However, the source of funding, duration and whether or not there was a competitive tender among other questions popping up, are yet unknown.
President Akufo-Addo, had explained that Tema is the foremost, well-planned community in Ghana, with a central sewerage network, pumping stations, and a treatment facility, which were constructed and commissioned in 1963, and, consequently, rehabilitated in 1994.
The facility, the President noted, has been shut down, because almost all the sewer lines have become obsolete and overaged, thereby creating environmental pollution and occasioning serious health hazards for residents.
Indeed, the initial design capacity of the sewer plant was to treat twenty thousand (20,000) cubic metres of waste water per day for a total population of fourteen thousand, nine hundred and thirty-seven (14,937).
The current population of Tema, according to the Ghana Statistical Service, is three hundred and sixty thousand, eight hundred and twenty-eight (360,828).
"The sewer system can, therefore, not cope with the volumes generated as a result of increased population," he said.
The President continued, "It is, thus, for this reason that Government deemed it prudent to facilitate the construction of an Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant and a Waste Water Treatment Plant to address the environmental sanitation challenges confronting the good people of Tema."
He explained that, the facility will be a modern waste water treatment plant with a combined system that will treat both waste water from the network and septage from cesspool trucks.
"The design capacity is 44,000 cubic metres per day for wastewater from the sewer network, and 1,000 cubic metres per day of septage from cesspool trucks, for areas that are not on the network.
The entire waste water treatment plant will comprise the construction of a new treatment plant, rehabilitation/retrofitting of the pumping stations, and construction of a new reticulation system (sewer network)", President Akufo-Addo added.
Additionally, a four hundred (400) metric ton state-of-the-art Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant will also be constructed at Ashaiman, and it is expected to receive, sort and process some four hundred (400) tons of municipal solid waste per day, to provide a sustainable solution to the solid waste disposal problem in Ashaiman and its environs.
Once completed, the plants will provide an opportunity to have effective and efficient management of municipal solid and liquid waste in a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner.
The production of organic compost for horticultural and agronomical purposes will be an added advantage to boost agricultural production and the programme for Planting for Foods and Jobs.
"Processing of the recyclable fractions of the waste, i.e. paper, plastic and metal, for reuse as input materials for recycling will, in the medium to long term, improve sanitation in the area.
Furthermore, the Integrated Composting and Recycling Plant and the Waste Water Plant will create hundreds of direct and indirect employment opportunities," he said.
The President told the gathering that government has awarded a contract for the decommissioning and re-engineering of the Kpone (Tema) and Oti (Kumasi) landfill sites, to receive the growing solid waste generated within the Greater Accra Metropolitan and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Areas respectively, so as to restore the sanctity of the environment.
He, thus, urged all key stakeholders, particularly the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), to collaborate with the operators of the facility.