Private sector participation in solid waste management in urban areas in Ghana

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Solid waste management is a service for which local government is responsible. This does not mean that local government has to accomplish the task of Solid Waste Service delivery entirely with its own staff equipment and money. The privatisation of Solid Waste Management in Urban areas in Ghana is a component of Urban Environment and Sanitation Project implemented in Ghana. The research is an evaluation of private sector participation in Solid Waste Management in urban areas in Ghana. It investigates whether private sector involvement produced better delivery of Solid Waste Management Service. The assumption for privatising public services is that it reduces the burden on over-stretched government, increases efficiency and quality of service. But this is often an assumption. Adequate consideration is often rarely given to the capacity of firms and government to handle their responsibilities. The focus was to assess the institutional capacity of private firms engaged in Solid Waste Management, the performance of private sector firms and to establish the viable technological options for private sector participation. The following observation was made. Where direct comparison could he made between public and private solid waste service providers (in terms of efficiency, effectiveness. equity and utility), it was found out that small firms performed better than the public sector. However, with the exception of ABC the public sector delivered at lower cost per ton collected than the private sector. It was not however; possible to draw from this, the general conclusion that privatisation means greater efficiency and effectiveness over all. The greater volumes of waste collected by KWML are partly due to the fact that they were better rewarded. The weak institutional capacity of the private firms directly reflected in low performance. Small Scale Low — technology options offer better opportunities for successful private sector participation in Solid Waste management in terms of cost per household, employment and revenue generation. Residents in Kumasi have shown willingness to pay for Solid Waste management Services. However, a subsidy is required until enough awareness is created. Inadequate legislation and inappropriate contract awarding procedure are major drawback to successful private sector participation. Policy indications: In principle there are advantages in forms of private participation, which stop short of full privatisation. Privatisation can spur up competition while avoiding loss of government control, the risk of complete dependence on a private sector, which may fail, and the inequities, which may occur through full privatisation. In deciding on privatisation the benefits and cost need to he considered, that is, taken into account the new burdens and risks that government have to assume. In practice it may be difficult for weak public administration to undertake the new roles which follow from these partial privatisation-setting broad frameworks of policy, managing contract, regulating contractors and monopolists, financing and supporting producers and consumers. It is recommended that urban authorities should prepare master plans for effective and economic solid waste management. Local authorities should put in place qualified and competent staff for both contract negotiation and administration. There is the need for education and awareness creation to ensure effective citizen participation. Small scale local organisations using low technology is also recommended
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Maaster of Science degree in Development Policy and Planning, 2001