Akwasi Opong-Fosu, Minister of State at the Presidency, has asked Ghanaians not to blame Mr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, for the June 3 flood and fire disaster in Accra.
He said the disaster occurred purely because of the lapses in the country’s public administration system.
Speaking in an interview with ‘The Ghanaian Times’ in Accra on Tuesday, Mr. Opong-Fosu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Wassa East, said until the country’s decentralization process was taken seriously, such lapses would recur.
Explaining, he said, in other jurisdictions, institutions like the Town and Country Planning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Fire Service, Police Service, Education, Health, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), among others, were under the control of the assemblies.
Hence, he said, those institutions elsewhere were prefixed with the name metropolitan, which was not the case in this country.
Mr. Opong-Fosu said that the time had, therefore, come for the country to enforce its decentralization policy to the letter, for heads of assemblies to work effectively with their supervisory roles..
The minister said the EPA, which should have enforced its regulations at the Goil Filling Station by undertaking periodic examination of the tanks and valves at the station, failed to do so and surprisingly the station was given an ‘A’ grade.
Mr. Opong-Fosu said the death rate of the disaster would have been less, but for the Goil Filling Station explosion, and asked those calling for the resignation of the AMA Chief Executive to rather come out with ideas to avert such explosions.
The Minister of State said the drainage in the capital was a central government project and not that of the AMA, and that would be tackled with all seriousness soon to avert flooding.
He said the June 3 disaster should not be politicized since it was a national issue.
By John Ackom Asante