Out-going Environment, Science and Technology minister Mahama Ayariga has defended the signing of an €18m waste management contract days after the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost the 2016 general elections.

Mahama Ayariga said the move is not to hinder the NPP government but rather help the incoming government to management e-waste.

His reaction follows growing suspicion within the transition team of the newly-elected New Patriotic Party (NPP) that the exiting government is 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.

Mahama Ayariga told Joy  News, the contract has been on his desk around November. But as an MP seeking re-elections he was busy campaigning and could therefore not give it any 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.

Section 21 empowers the minister to grant the license, which he did.

Mahama Ayariga dismissed suggestions that the contract involves 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 to Joy News' Raymond Acquah.

"...In future when government of Ghana is procuring services for recycling of electronic waste they will be one of the companies that will be eligibe 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 6 January 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"

"We are not committing the government. We are helping a private company that has capacity to establish an e-waste system to go ahead and do so, so that when a new government comes in, it doesn't have to go through the trouble of finding somebody who can establish a recycling plant" he explained.

He said the incoming government will determine how much it wants to pay the company for waste it has recycled.

The single source procurement was approved just last Thursday, December 15, by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) at the request of Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Daily Guide has reported.

The use of sole-sourcing has raised questions about the lack of competition in the award of the contract. The NPP has been very critical of the exiting NDC government's resort to sole-sourcing in the award of contracts.

The NPP believes it was abused to grant contracts to family and friends of the ruling government.

Source: myjoyonline.com