The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) has directed Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembles (MMDAs) nationwide to remove unauthorised structures that impede the flow of storm water. This, the Ministry said is aimed at reducing the incidence of flooding across the country. Deputy Local Government Minister, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, said the exercise is ongoing and charged the local assemblies not to relent on their efforts to support the work of the Ministry.
MMDAs ordered to pull down illegal structures
Addressing Parliament on Wednesday, the Deputy Minister stated that the main focus of the Ministry “is to clear all unauthorised structures on our water ways to save lives and property.”
The process, he said began after the June, 3 twin disaster at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, in Accra that claimed more than 150 lives and destroyed properties.
Other measures in addition to the directive are that the ministry as part of the National Sanitation Day exercise is encouraging the regular desilting of drains to allow free flow of storm water in order to reduce the incidence of flooding.
The Deputy Minister’s response was to answer an urgent question blinking on the Order Paper for the past three weeks for which the deputy Minister appeared on behalf of his boss, Collins Dauda, to answer finally.
A heavy downpour on June 3, 2015 inundated parts of Accra and caused an explosion at a gas filling station.
This sad event prompted Osei Bonsu Amoah, Member for Akuapim South to file an urgent question demanding an answer on what government is doing through the Ministry to prevent a recurrence of the disaster.
Nii Lante Vanderpuye said the Ministry has also embarked on public education to sensitise the citizenry on the need to stop littering and dumping solid waste into the drains.
“As a medium to long term measure, the Ministry would also be collaborating with the various MMDA’s to come out with a policy to consider redesigning our drains to increase their capacity to carry large volumes of storm water and also cover those within the central districts of Accra and other regional capitals,” he said.
Probing further, Mr Amoah sought to know what became of the 660 million- dollar facility that was approved by the House in October 2012 to construct storm drains in Accra under the Conti Project.
Nii Lante Vanderpuye told the plenary that the agreement was signed on behalf of the country by three Ministries- Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Ministry of Finance and the MLGRD.
He therefore requested the House to invite the Ministries of Water Resources, Works and Housing to respond to the Conti Project issue, since his ministry was not the lead signatory to the signing of the facility agreement.
The Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho who was not enthused by the Deputy Minister’s response to the question and thus told him that once his Ministry was a signatory to the agreement, he [Nii Lante Vanderpuye] should be able to give an answer.
He therefore asked the Deputy Minister to confer with the other Ministries and report back to the House on July 23.
Nii Lante Vanderpuye before answering the questions apologised to the House for the inability of the Ministry to attend upon the House to respond to the question at earlier times.
He said the Minister’s absence in the House was “due to circumstances beyond our control,” adding, “Mr Speaker, it was not intentional…It will never happen again”.
The Speaker, on Tuesday, after several invitations to answer begging questions on the way forward on the Accra floods and subsequent reminders by the Business Committee could not bring the ministers to provide answers, threatened to bring sanctions on the errant ministers if they continue to absent themselves without reasons.
The Speaker accepted the Deputy Minister’s apology and advised state ministers to provide tangible reasons for absence from the House to answer questions.
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