A bill on land use that will mandate the Town and Country Planning Council to better plan towns and cities, is expected to be laid before Parliament before the end of the year. The bill being spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology would change the Council to an authority to collaborate effectively with the Local Government Ministry and the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies on how to manage development in towns and cities. Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology announced this at a day’s workshop jointly organised by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and Unilever Ghana limited on the theme: “Growing Sustainably, Living Sustainably” in Accra on Friday. She cited the recent fire outbreak that destroyed the Kokompe Market in Accra as lack of proper planning of structure. The Minister urged industry players to upgrade their performances for economic growth and development, adding that very soon standards would be set for industry to comply with. She noted that a recent environmental performance rating on manufacturing industries revealed that 95 per cent of the companies were shown red, meaning poor performance. “Soon we will be enforcing waste management laws on the manufacturing industries,” she said. She, therefore, called on industry players to raise their standard to better compete on the international market. Nana Owusu-Afari, President of AGI, explained that the workshop was a wake-up call for all businesses and organisations to adopt a more proactive approach to ensuring sustainability in the light of the adverse effects of economic activities on the environment. “Indeed many of our companies fall short when it comes to the best practices and the fulfilment of corporate social responsibility,” he noted. He said the Association was committed to ensuring that industry implements social and environmental strategies to contribute to the success of businesses that would survive and thrive in the long run. Nana Owusu-Afari announced that AGI had signed unto the United Nations Global Compact, a progress from the Ghana Business Code. He stated that the focus of sustainability was not only to make cash donations, but rather good business practices that enhanced sustainable growth and development. “As Ghanaian businesses try to integrate into international markets, it is crucial for all our businesses and all organisations to consider the management of sustainability issues as integral parts of our corporate social responsibility...” he added. He called on the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, the Environmental Protection Agency and all relevant stakeholders to continue with the education to be followed by strict enforcement of the regulations regarding the environment. Mr Alban Bagbin, Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, said concerning the theme some agencies under the Ministry had carried out some initiatives in the area of climate change and the need to adapt as a developing country. He said the Ministry had made considerable efforts to pilot climate change adaption initiatives towards promoting adaptive and coping strategies for water resources use and management to reduce livelihood vulnerability in the three Northern regions. He commended development partners for their support in achieving some of the initiatives implemented so far. Mr David Mureithi, Managing Director, Unilever West Africa, said for vigorous sustainability of businesses, industry players should look for innovation which could help them to grow in emerging markets.
Source: Ghana News Agency