Thursday, April 2, 2009

modern ghana news, april 2 2009

Ministry to stem dumping of toxic waste in Ghana
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, on Thursday said his Ministry in collaboration with relevant institutions would “get tough” on persons and institutions engaged in the shipment and dumping of toxic wastes in the country.

He made the remark during a forum and exhibition to mark the 20th anniversary celebration of the operations of Omanfofor Company Limited, a subsidiary of Canon South Africa in Ghana.

Omanfofor was incorporated in Ghana in 1989 as the sole dealer and distributor of Canon Business Solution (CBS) products. The company had since been at the forefront of the distribution of world branded ICT solutions.

Mr Iddrisu noted that dumping of toxic waste within the environs of Agbogbloshie, a suburb of Accra, recently attracted international concern, adding that, it was time that all stakeholders, including dealers, manufacturers, the state, responded to the menace.

“In that regard my Ministry in collaboration with the relevant institutions would take stringent measures to prevent the shipment and dumping of toxic waste in the country,” he said.

He noted that most electronic equipment was extremely hazardous to both human and the environment once disposed of, adding that computer companies had a share in the responsibility for the improper disposal of old electronic devices.

The Minister charged all ICT related organisations in the country to join in the effort to stem the importation and dumping of electronic waste in the country.

He recalled the “remarkable” contribution of Omanfofor to the growth of the use of ICT in Ghana, saying that, Omanfofor had become a household name in Ghana through the efficiency of its products including Canon copiers, fax machines, printers, document readers, scanners, cameras, calculators, UPS, anti-viruses, Dell desktop, laptop and servers among other things.

Mr Iddrisu was however worried that, foreign manufacturers benefited more from the local consumption of Omanfofor and other ICT products, saying that there was the need to also develop human capacity in the country to manufacture and or assemble ICT equipment for local consumption.

He said the introduction of the Government Assisted PC Programme (GAPP), Community Information Centres, Technology Parks and Development of Incubatord were intended for that purpose.

The Minister also observed the proliferation of fake ICT equipment on the market and assured the genuine dealers that in addition to the four ICT legislations recently passed by Parliament, the Ministry was preparing supplementary bills purposely to support the industry and protect genuine operators like Omanfofor.

“I believe this initiative will create the needed enabling environment for foreign direct investment in the industry, as well as whip up local initiative in computer programming, software development and hardware manufacturing, in line with government policy,” he said.

Mr Iddrisu also noted that dealers in ICT products were not noted for social responsibility activities and urged Omanfofor to set the pace in making some contribution to the community it operated in.

Ms Vivian Baitie, Managing Director of Omanfofor said the company was currently working with its collaborators to undertake a project through the Ministry of Education to ensure that all school children in Ghana got computers as a matter of right and not luxury.

Mr Gian De Vallier, Managing Director of Canon South Africa assured the minister that Canon products were toxic free and that high standards were adhered to from the host country before Canon products were exported to anywhere in the world.

He said the turnover of the company for 2008 was US$45 billion; higher than that of 2007, which stood at US$39.3 billion.

He urged Ghanaians to patronise Canon products saying that, they were of the highest quality, user friendly, well designed, stylish and connectivity ready.

Canon employs 131,000 people in 239 subsidiaries around the world and is ranked 182nd based on sale revenue, 124th based on profits and 100th based on market capitalization on the Fortune 500 global companies’ rankings.


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