The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah, says Ghana cannot afford to allow greed and selfishness to drive and destroy the country’s water bodies and green vegetation.
She noted that if bold decisions are not taken to tackle the menace of galamsey immediately, Ghana would face huge challenges with water generation in the next 10 years.
“This greedy type of business has destroyed our water bodies. Now, it will take us years to clean our water bodies. If we do not take care, in the next 10 to 15 years, there will be no water. People think it’s an exaggeration. But, the harm being done to our water bodies is not a joke. I just passed through Beposo and saw the colour of River Pra and I don’t know how to describe it.”
Ms Dapaah said this in her keynote address at the 5th National Policy Summit (NPS), which was held in Takoradi on the theme, ‘Improving performance of State -Owned Enterprises, SOEs and Agencies’.
She reiterated that, “We as adults in the pursuit of selfishness, should not be allowed to do this to our beautiful country. We have to leave a good legacy for generations unborn. Whoever is muddying our water bodies must stop. Our President will use all means available and legal to ensure that this stops. We must have a good future for this nation.”
Ms Dapaah, therefore, appealed to the youth to support the President’s drive to move the nation forward, assuring that government had drawn up long-term programmes to improve the lives of Ghanaians through the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ and the ‘One district, one factory initiatives’.
She added, “Ghanaians must be assured that change has come, we want to increase employment for Ghanaian professionals through skilled transfer, research and development.”
The minister said, Ghana was a model country in terms Africa’s development goals.
She, however, argued that Ghana could not continue to behave in the old ways and attitudes on governance, and, must therefore, begin to improve upon the economy and restore confidence in the state- owned enterprises.
Ms Dapaah said, “Over the years, this nation has lost huge sums of money that could have been accrued for these SOEs to rise above their problems and reorganises themselves, but we have also suffered from this attitude of laissez faire that we call the ‘aban adwuma’.”
“We better sit up and help our heads of agencies to be successful and when they are successful they will also contribute their quota to the economy and have rippling effects on all of us. Government is committed to disabusing such thoughts through such discussions to unearth long lasting solutions for better Ghana and if possible bring on board investors to the management of theses SOEs.”
Paying tribute to CEOs of SOEs, she stated, that the GNPC, for example, was engaged in high income earning activities in the petroleum sector to attract investors into the economy, noting that even though petroleum exploration had brought conflicts elsewhere, Ghana had been spared of such ordeals.
She said digitisation programmes were also rolled out to transform and protect the national purse as already the Driver and Licensing Authority, DVLA and the Register Generals’ Department had digitised to be proactive and productive to reduce the time of doing business processes.
She, however, told the participants that one key challenge facing the housing sector with a deficit of about 1.7 million houses that needed to be built for the 30 million population.
Ms Dapaah believed the NPS would promote good discussions to improve economic governance.
The Chairman of the State Enterprise Commission, Mr Asamoah Boateng, mentioned that the government was serious to address the challenges of the country’s businesses, saying that SOEs were poised to improve the fortunes of Ghana.
The Omanhene of Wassa Amenfi, Tetreteh Okuamoah Sekyim 11, was happy about the NPS as it demonstrated the desire of the country to seek consensus in driving policies forward for the development of the country.
The two- day summit served as a platform for explaining government policies, plans and programmes, outlining their objectives, scope and specific areas that the private capital is required to achieve set goals.
The NPS, a major flagship programme of the Ministry of Information and PPP initiative by Universal Merchant Bank UMB , was designed to bring together policy makers and business leaders to explore mutually beneficial ways of achieving the nations objectives, in main hopes to promote social accountability in public policy cycle, mainstream development communication across the public sector, improve transparency and public access to information and also enhancing the capacity of the media for sustainable development communication ,accountability and press freedom.
Key speakers addressed various sessions ranging from petroleum sector through entrepreneurship in Ghana, housing deficit, boosting exports, and small scale businesses, safeguarding health of consumers and the protection of Ghana’s natural resources.
Marie Aziz Tunde/SEKONDI.