Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Freda Prempeh, has dismissed reports which suggest that the ministry has received an amount of $125 million from the World Bank to support a five-year initiative to train environmental inspectors to prosecute sanitation offenders.
According to her, the report in the public domain does not wholly represent what the Ministry’s officials said during the training of environmental prosecutors in Tamale last month.
Ms Prempeh indicated that the $125 million was the entire budget for a four-year Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water project that started in 2021.
Speaking during the commissioning of 38 institutional toilet facilities across eight district assemblies in the Ashanti Region today, October 13, 2023, she explained that the training of the environmental prosecutors was just one activity under the capacity-building component of the four-year project.
“Recently, we saw a viral video, a publication going around indicating that the World Bank had given the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources $125 million. Let me put on record here that the World Bank has not dumped any money in my office as is being speculated around that $125 million has been given to the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources.”Freda Prempeh
Sanitation minister clarifies claims
Furthermore, Ms Prempeh iterated that, the two parties have a project that together has about four components which sum up to $125 million which was started years ago. She noted that some of the projects are being undertaken in Kumasi and Accra.
“And yet somebody somewhere decided to do his own story that $125 million had been given to the Minister of Sanitation. No such monies have been dumped in my office.”Freda Prempeh
It will be recalled that on October 4, 2023, Programme Manager of the MSWR, Charlotte Akwaah Adjei Marfo, revealed that the World Bank has approved $125 million to support a five-year project of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR) to build the capacities of its environmental officers to prosecute sanitation offences in courts.
She stated that in 2015, the World Bank provided funds for the project to be piloted in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions with $150 million over a five-year period.
Ms Marfo emphasized that enforcement of sanitation laws would go a long way to improve sanitation conditions in the country which would help prevent disasters such as floods when it rained.
On his part, Deputy Director of the MSWR, Kweku Quansah revealed that the inability of environmental officers to prosecute sanitation offences contributed to the filth in the environment.
This, he stated, was due to the fact that districts do not have their bye laws gazetted, thus making it difficult for environmental officers to prosecute the cases in court.
In such cases, Mr Quansah explained that the confidence of the environmental officers was low. As such, Mr Quansah said the MSWR will start by ensuring that all their bye laws were properly gazetted after which the documents will be made available to the officers for their study.
Moreover, he expressed that the proper prosecution of offenders would provide the tidy environment that was required to provide good sanitation and safe water for society.
The workshop for environmental officers drawn from the Upper West and East Regions marked the take-off of the second phase of the project scheduled to end in 2024.
Some of the topics discussed at the workshop were the jurisdiction of the courts, the code of ethics for the environmental health prosecutors, summary trial of cases, and drafting of summons and charge sheets among others.
The project is in line with the government’s strategy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.