The Minister-designate for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie has intimated that Ghana has a huge potential for solar energy generation since it is situated in the tropics.
Appearing before the appointments committee to be vetted for his position, he proposed that a national conversation on the use of solar energy to provide a boost to the national electrification drive should hold.
Dr Afriyie said the national conversation would guide the citizenry on the configuration and where to place wind vanes and solar panels.
“The dependence on more solar energy resources, would also boost the nation’s rural electrification drive.”Dr Kwaku Afriyie
His proposal was in response to a suggestion by Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader and Deputy Chairman of the Appointments Committee, who wanted to know what measures the minister designate would adopt to increase the use of wind vanes to boost solar energy supply in Ghana.
Dr. Afriyie also announced that, a draft policy to guide the exploitation of Ghana’s oil and gas resources was being worked on, promising to bring that legislation to the House if approved as the Minister.
Dr. Afriyie, also agreed to champion the application of research findings to the growth of sweet potatoes, which had very high nutritional values and could be applied in making confectioneries.
Speaking at his vetting also, he advocated for the growing of more sweet potatoes and the development of taste buds for consumption and export to attract foreign exchange and reduce poverty.
On genetically modified plants, the Minister-designate said existing laws allowed for research for improved varieties of crops, and that the Ministry would encourage research into such plants.
The Minister-designate indicated that there were moral issues on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and cautioned that the adoption of GMOs might lead to dependence on foreign organisms alien to the nation’s genetic pool.
Dr. Afriyie also answering a question on the support he will give to innovators who have come up with various technological apps and machinery to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, he averred that most of the innovations were faced with problem of applicability and as a result there was a need for some analyses before support is rendered.
“Specifically, what we will do is to get scientist or a team of scientists who will analyse the applicability of the innovation. We have to get a certain criterion these innovations must meet so we know which one to support.”Dr. Kwaku Afriyie
He also averred that, there should be economic benefits that come with these technological innovations. He also noted that, intellectual property must also be looked at in order not to be faced with an issue of an idea of being a stolen one.
He further said Ghana has an issue with intellectual property and as such we must work to prevent that.
Touching on climate change, he also intimated that the situation was real and posited that, when given the nod, he will ensure that, climate smart systems will be created so that we can survive as a nation.
He also averred that, his ministry will apply the law in retrieving encroached lands belonging to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research under the Ministry and will make sure to protect it.
Dr. Kwaku Afriyie is the Member of Parliament for Sefwi Wiawso in the Bono Region. He once served as the Minister of Health under Former President John Agyekum Kuffour’s government.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie, if given the nod by the appointment committee to become the minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation will replace, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, who was the Minister in the last administration.