Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology of Parliament, Simon Edem Asimah has hinted that the passage of the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Bill, 2016 into Law, will pave the way for the establishment of recycling plants in the country which will create almost 600 thousand jobs for Ghanaians.
Speaking to GhanaJustice.com in Accra, the Lawmaker said that the main object of the Bill, which is now an Act, is to make sure that the continuous importation of electrical, electronic and hazardous waste into the country is controlled.
He added that the Act also seeks to establish recycling plants so that all the electrical, electronic and hazardous waste will be treated and so that it will not be harmful to the environment and the people.
The Chairman further explained that before these manufactured products (computers, TV sets, fridges etc.) are brought into the country, there is something called an Eco Levy for which Ghana had not been collecting for a very long time. The Act also seeks to establish a fund into which this money, when collected will be paid.
Hon. Asimah intimated that the Act also seeks to get an Administrator of the fund. It also seeks to get an External Service Provider and if you look at the interpretation section of this Act, the External Service Provider has the capacity to collect this Eco Levy wherever in the world. The major manufacturing companies of hazardous, electrical and electronic waste are from the European countries, Canada and America so this External Service Provider must have the financial and technical capacity and the experience in the collection of this Levy and the Levy would be brought down to the country and the money that would be realized from the collection of the Eco Levy has been shared in percentage terms such as how much would have to be used for the recycling plant, how much would have to be used for capacity building, how much would have to be used for sensitization, orientation and awareness creation and how much would have to be used for monitoring.
‘So the Act has also given some amount of leverage to Parliament to have oversight responsibility on all these activities. In effect, the Act is aimed at making sure that importation, treatment and recycling of electrical and electronic waste is done in a very sustainable manner to the benefit of the environment and the people of Ghana’, he said.
He also explained that the Act, which has been gazzetted, would go back to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet and for Presidential assent, The Minister will then take it up and run with it.
The South Dayi MP further indicated that one critical thing that the Committee also came up with in this Act is that the Minister must come up with regulations to establish certain legislative instruments on how to implement certain portions of the Act so that it would be done. The Minister and the responsible ministries and agencies under the ministry will begin to run with the Act and make sure that it is implemented to the latter.
‘And I want to put on record that this Act has certain fundamental issues that are going to come up and as a result, we tried to find out from the consultant to the ministry and we came out with this Act and it came out clearly that it is going to create jobs. In fact they talked about over six hundred thousand jobs (600,000) to be created, especially for they those who are going to be involved in the collection jobs because when the recycling plants are established, jobs will be created over there. For example when you go to Agblogbloshie, I think Agblogbloshie is one of the biggest electrical and electronic waste treatment centres in the country and you see a number of people who are engaged over there but do not enhance the environmental aspect of their job especially when it is also harmful to their health. So this time it will be organised in a very nice way’ Hon Asimah, dropped the hint.
The Chairman also explained that one thing they realized when they travelled to the Netherlands to look at the recycling plants over there was that some of the electrical and electronic waste contain certain important minerals like gold and diamond. These things are cleverly and neatly removed and repackaged and it is also revenue to the recycling plant operators. So a lot of jobs would be created if we are able to come out with a very good method of implementing this Act.
The bill (Act), which was presented to Parliament and read for the first time on Tuesday, the 7th of June, 2016, was passed into law on Thursday, the 7th of July, 2016, and it is expected to be presented to the President, John Dramani Mahama for his assent.