The Deputy Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Dr. Edward Omane-Boamah says the New Patriotic Party’s [NPP’s] dissolution of the Ministry for Environment, Science and Technology when it came into power has hindered the progress of science and technology in the country.
The Kufuor-led NPP administration in 2006 reconstituted the then Ministry of Education to become the Ministry for Education, Science and Sports. This move according to Dr. Omane-Boamah was indicative of the NPP’s lack of appreciation for the role science and technology plays in national development.
Speaking on Multi TV’s political talk show, Majority Caucus, the Deputy Minister said the NPP “prides itself in having struck crude oil and even sometimes they make the mistake of saying that they were the first to have done it, forgetting that these things had happened in the past. The issue is that but for this existing Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, which came into being in 2009, what would have happened to the environmental impact assessment and all the things that we did regarding the establishment of the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah here in Ghana?”
He accused the NPP administration of failing to add up to or maintain the 110 science resource centers built by the Rawlings-led NDC administration in its 8 years in office.
Dr. Omane-Boamah reiterated the Mills-led NDC government’s resolve to continue to harness the potentials of the science and technology sector for national development.
Explaining the essence of the recently held National Science Congress, the Deputy Environment, Science and Technology Minister said “we said that we were going to establish a National Science Congress, this was because meetings of scientists have been taking place but to have all scientists focusing on a particular subject area for a period of 4-5 days, discussing them, coming out with different ideas, and people criticizing the ideas through preliminary sessions, through committee meetings, was something that we have not had since our independence.”
According to Dr. Omane-Boamah, one of the outcomes of the National Science Congress was the development of waste management system which will manage liquid waste. He said a pilot project is underway to test the system at Kaase in the Ashanti region where “we are trying a technology which basically deals with liquid waste. What that technology does is it liquefies most of the sludge that clogs the sewers [so] that the liquid waste passes through during the treatment process. It is a work that must be observed over a period of 30days. So we started it last week Thursday, we are going to observe to see the level of liquification that has taken place.”
He also emphasized that “there is a renewable energy bill which has been sent to Parliament. When that is approved and the President signs it into law, it is going to force GRIDCO, ECG and VALCO to purchase these waste that [they] will convert to energy at prices that will take into consideration, the environmental benefit. So it is possible that at that time, when that waste has been transformed into energy, the cost of that power will be a little higher than what you would have gotten from hydro.”
He further stated: “We are putting in place the framework to be able to make it cheaper for you to be able to have it as a result of the monies that we can generate from the United Nations convention on climate change system.”
Dr. Omane-Boamah said government has also made available GH¢2 million in scholarship for Science and Mathematics students. It forms part of government’s efforts at improving the study of science, technology and mathematics in the country. So far, 500 students have benefited from the scholarship scheme, he said.
He said government has also initiated a Skills Development Fund which is contributing to the training of the youth.
“The laptops which are being assembled in Ghana, what that means is that those Ghanaians are acquiring the skills and it is our hope that eventually one day this country will be able to harness the skills that they will develop from assembling into a reverse technology kind of system and we will be able to produce these ones here,” he added.