Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
THE Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) is facing a huge challenge in finding money to pay the private waste management contractors it owes to the tune of a whopping ¢60 billion, accumulated unpaid monthly bills over the past year.
The irregular payment has resulted in a poor performance by the contractors, as refuse continues to pile up in many areas of the metropolis.
People continue to litter indiscriminately as the assembly struggles to get the necessary funds to pay the contractors, while insufficient equipment holding by the contractors also contribute to the problem.
These came up during a meeting between officials of the assembly and a delegation of the Alliance Francais Development (AFD) of France, in connection with the Urban Development Project currently underway in Kumasi. The French government, through AFD, is the major financier of the projects which include construction of roads and a wood village at Sokoban.
Giving the state of solid waste management and sanitation situation in Kumasi, the Deputy Director of Waste Management at the KMA, Mr Prosper Kotoka, said the assembly needed about ¢1.3 billion a month for the proper management of its final disposal waste disposal facilities at Dompoase and Ohwim.
The metropolis generates 1,000 tonnes of solid waste daily, and to achieve a total collection coverage, the assembly requires about ¢2.7 billion to collect 30,000 tonnes of solid waste every month, besides the cost of maintaining the disposal facilities.
Touching on the decision to use solid waste to generate electricity, Mr Kotoka said the assembly had signed a memorandum of understanding with a Canadian company to prepare the grounds for the start of the project.
Mr J.O. Amoo-Gottfried, the Urban Roads Engineer in Kumasi, who was briefing the meeting on road development in the metropolis, said only about 20 per cent of the road network in Kumasi was in good condition.
However, he said, there had been a significant increase of about 60 per cent in road network within the last six years which had made many areas accessible.
The metropolitan engineer noted that every effort was being made to improve on the conditions of the 20 per cent of good roads, but said that had been hampered by financial challenges.
He said the introduction of the traffic management policy had considerably reduced the volume of traffic in the central business district of the city.
Mr Amoo-Gottfried stated that the government was in the process of paying compensation to property owners whose property would be affected by the construction of the outer ring road project from Angola Junction to Anoka Timber Gardens.
The compensation was estimated at ¢260 billion.
The Finance Officer of the KMA, Mr Asare Bediako, noted that the assembly had continued to rely mostly on its share of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund to finance most of its projects because of inadequate revenue generated internally.
For some time now, the assembly had generated just 26 per cent of its budgeted internally generated funds.
That was why measures, including the revaluation of property in the metropolis had been initiated to maximise revenue generation from internal sources.
He noted that data collection was key in maximising revenue generation and the assembly was taking it seriously. Mr Bediako said private revenue collectors had been engaged to collect revenues from the central market and other markets in the metropolis.
This is a pilot project which would be replicated in other areas when it becomes successful.