CSIR properties uninsured, fire extinguishers expired – Prof. Agyeman confirms to PAC

It has emerged that buildings of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have not been insured contrary to provisions of the National Insurance Act, 2006 (Act 724).

Section 184(1) of the Act stipulates that, “every commercial building shall be insured with an insurer against hazards of collapse, fire, earthquake, storm and flood, and an insurer policy issued for it”.

The buildings are also reported not to have been affixed with fire extinguishers, and in the case that they had, they were expired.

The above were contained in the Auditor-General’s report for the year ending December 31, 2017, on the Accounts of Public Boards, Corporations and Statutory Institutions.   

According to the report, signed by the Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, which is currently under consideration at the sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, the non insurance of the facilities and the inefficacious fire extinguishers, puts the lives of patrons and staff at risk with no compensation in sight in the event of an accident.

The Auditor-General in his report blamed the situation on management’s apathy with regards to risk management, warning that “the Institute could suffer huge losses in the event of a disaster without recourse to any compensation.”

Appearing before the Committee in Accra yesterday, the Director-General of the CSIR, Professor Kwame Agyeman, said four years on, some of the properties were in the process to being insured.

Prof. Agyeman explained that before the insurance, the properties needed to be valued, and that some of the institutes of the centre have revalued their properties and getting ready to insure.

He mentioned the Oil Palm Institute and “some other institutes” as having revalued their properties, but “we are yet to do for STEPRI (Science and Technology Policy Research Institute) but you find out that other institutions have (revalued their properties) and have asked for insurance quotations.”

Prof. Agyeman revealed to the Committee that over the years, it has been budgeted for but never gets considered, making it difficult for the institute to insure its landed properties considering its financial constraints.

The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, who has oversight responsibility over the CSIR, responding to the budgetary constraints of the centre said “even at the headquarters [ministry] level, we don’t have insurance. The buildings are dangerous for all of us”.

He said signing on an insurance policy for the CSIR was expensive, but efforts were being made to raise the necessary funds to insure the buildings.  

“If you look at their goods and services budget, it is even less than the amount they need to insure the buildings. It’s a herculean problem and as we go forward we will find the money to do it but for now we don’t have the releases from the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

On the fire extinguishers, the CSIR said they have been renewed for the years 2018 and 2019, but are yet to be renewed for 2020 due to the interruption caused by the coronavirus disease because the institute was yet to receive allocation for its goods and services for the 2020 financial year.


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