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Ghana: Environmental Protection Agency poised to become an Authority

Dr. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, the Executive Director of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has revealed that plans are well underway to transform the Agency into an Authority.

He made this announcement during the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce’s (UKGCC) webinar on ‘Navigating Environmental Regulations: Ensuring Compliance with EPA Guidelines in Ghana’.

“The Environmental Protection Law is being amended to change the EPA into an Authority. By courtesy of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Cabinet has approved, and it is with Parliament as we speak; it has gone through the first and second readings; it is at the third reading for consideration so within a month or so, Parliament will approve, and the President will assent to it.

That law will give more impetus to the EPA by way of authorisation; the EPA will have the powers to cause arrests; when the law becomes operational, the EPA will not rely on the police service to cause arrests-EPA itself will be deemed as a quasi-national security institution. Beyond causing arrests, the EPA will have prosecutorial powers. The EPA will become a force to be reckoned with and it will be placed and positioned to deal with global environmental issues alongside national environmental issues.”

The EPA is Ghana’s leading public entity mandated to protect, co-manage, and improve the environment in the country. It is backed by the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994 (Act 490) with Environmental Assessment Regulations, 1999 9L.I. 1652) as its enabling legislation. Its mandate covers both built and natural environments, which encompasses the physical and the natural across terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric ecosystems.

Dr. Kokofu highlighted that the EPA undertakes various activities as part of its mandate. These include conducting Environmental Impact Assessments to evaluate the potential environmental impact of proposed development projects. The agency also monitors industrial and commercial activities to ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations, and issues environmental permits to regulate projects across different sectors such as energy, mining, agriculture, and others.

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