The minister for works and housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, says human activities have hindered various actions to address flooding in the country.
Such activities as the filling of wetlands and lagoons, dumping solid waste into drains, obstructing lagoons and wetlands for development purposes, construction on drainage channels that restrict stormwater flow and poor enforcement of planning and building laws by local authorities are some of the human impediments.
Asenso-Boakye expressed worry about such negative activities when he appraised Parliament on measures taken to address flooding in the country following recent heavy downpours.
He told the House that, despite the government’s allocation of GHC450 million for drain construction and desilting since 2018, human activities have made it challenging to tackle the recurring problem of flooding.
The minister said, “Mr Speaker, it has become more evident that human activities are severely impeding the government’s efforts to tackle flooding.
“The observation includes blocking of lagoons and wetlands with construction materials for development purposes, building on drainage channels and blocking the free flow of stormwater, dumping of solid waste in drains thereby reducing their capacity to hold stormwater and the gap in the enforcement of planning and building laws by the various MDAs.”
Asenso-Boakye, who doubles as the member of parliament (MP) for Bantama, said flooding in Accra, especially, is considered a national security issue. The ministry is engaging with other relevant agencies to resolve the issue, he said.
“Mr Speaker, Cabinet noted the need to consider flooding in Accra as a national security issue since effective law enforcement has a role to play in resolving the issue. Subsequently, the Cabinet constituted a committee to develop a comprehensive plan with appropriate measures to strengthen the enforcement of laws relating to lands and siting of buildings.
“While the committee does its work, my ministry will continue its engagement with the national security ministry in seeking support for the assemblies to enforce planning laws and building regulations,” the minister said.
The minister also shared highlights on the progress of projects to mitigate the effects of flooding in Accra. He said, since 2018, the government invested millions of cedis in a special programme to address flooding in the country.
Asenso-Boakye said, “Mr Speaker, today, 370 desilting projects representing 96% have been and 84 drainage channel projects have been completed, with the remaining 118 at various stages of completion. The effects have been the mitigation of flood hazards in beneficiary communities.”
The speaker of parliament, Alban Bagbin, directed Asenso-Boakye and Ken Ofori-Atta, the minister for finance, to come back to the House to provide details on how the government intends to deal with the recurrent flooding.