Out-going Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Mahama Ayariga has defended the signing of an 18m euros waste management contract days after the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost the 2016 general elections.
Mr. Ayariga said the move is not to hinder the incoming New Patriotic Party government but rather help it to management e-waste.
His statement followed growing suspicion within the transition team of the newly-elected NPP that the exiting government was making last-minute decisions which may tie down the new administration unfavourably.
The head of the NPP transition team Yaw Osafo Maafo first expressed the worry about the signing of contracts and the recruitment into sensitive security positions.
The SCL contract was signed 15 December 2016, six days after the Electoral Commission declared the NPP winner of the December 7 polls.
Mr. Ayariga in an interview said the contract has been on his desk since November, but as an incumbent Member of Parliament seeking re-election, he was busily campaigning and could therefore not give it the needed attention.
He explained that all he did was to grant SCL permission to set up a recycling plant to manage harzardous and toxic e-waste materials, a growing menace to Ghana’s environment.
He explained that in accordance with a new law-the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, 2016 (Act 917), a company must obtain a license before it can operate.
He added that Section 21 of the law empowers the minister to grant the license and that was what he did.
The minister dismissed suggestions that the contract involved an upfront payment of monies to a company, SCL Waste Management Limited which is interested in recylcing electronic waste.
“The government of Ghana is not going to give them the €18million. It is at their expense. They are going to bear the cost of establishing the plant,” he explained.
“In future when government of Ghana is procuring services for recycling of electronic waste they will be one of the companies that will be eligible to provide the services and government then pays them like any cleaner in town, like Zoomlion.”
The Bawku Central MP dismissed NPP concerns that the last-minute nature of the contract raises suspicions.
“I have up to the January 6 2017 to implement what I want to do,” he stressed and “it is my ambition to ensure that I leave a legacy, a system for the effective management of e-waste in my country”.