Ghana is a party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal (Basel Convention). Pursuant to Ghana’s obligations under the Basel Convention, the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, 2016 (Act 917) (the E-Waste Act) was passed to regulate the treatment of hazardous, electronic and electrical waste. In addition to the E-Waste Act, the Hazardous, Electronic and Other Wastes (Classification) Control and Management Regulation, 2016 (LI 2250) provides comprehensive guidelines on waste classification, control, management, trash disposal, and a host of other issues.
The E-Waste Act is the primary law for the control, management and disposal of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste). It defines e-waste as discarded electronic equipment inclusive of all components, subassemblies, and consumables which are part of the product at the time of discarding. This briefing aims to provide information on the duties of manufacturers, importers, exporters and distributors of e-waste or used electronic and electrical equipment under the E-Waste Act.
Importers and Exporters
Any person who in the ordinary course of business imports electronic equipment into Ghana is an importer. Similarly, any person within the jurisdiction of Ghana who arranges for e-waste to be exported from Ghana is an exporter. Importers and exporters of e-waste or used electronic and electrical equipment must register with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and acquire an import or export permit. Importers of new electrical and electronic equipment are required to pay an advance eco levy. Exporters of new electrical and electronic equipment manufactured in Ghana are not required to pay the eco levy because the manufacturers in Ghana would have already paid the levy.The E-Waste Act lists a number of goods for which the advanced eco levy is applicable, and the rates for the advance eco levy vary depending on the kind of equipment or e-waste. The purpose of registering with the EPA is to allow the EPA to keep track of all electrical and electronic products, regardless of whether they are made locally or imported into Ghana. Where the importer fails to register with the EPA, acquire a permit and pay the eco levy, it will result in an administrative penalty of twice the amount of the eco levy for that electrical or electronic equipment. The EPA may, however, waive the requirement to pay an eco levy for an importer who imports used electrical or electronic equipment or e-waste for recycling.
A manufacturer is any person who assembles or produces electronic equipment in Ghana. Manufacturers are required to register particulars of the equipment manufactured or assembled in Ghana with the EPA. They must also pay an advance eco levy at the prescribed rates for the types of items manufactured in Ghana. Where a manufacturer fails to pay the advance eco levy, it will be liable to an administrative penalty twice the amount of the EPA levy payable for the equipment manufactured.
Distributors are wholesalers or retailers of electronic goods with an annual turnover of GHS10,000.
Distributors must register the manufacturer’s corporate information and information about the particulars of the equipment with the EPA. A copy of the payment receipts for the eco levy that the EPA issued to the manufacturer or importer must also be kept by the distributors for any electronic equipment that is made in Ghana or imported into the country and is sold or retained by them.
For the purposes of recycling, manufacturers and distributors are required to take back used electrical or electronic equipment or e-waste they manufactured or sold. Along with the obligation to take back e-waste, there is also an obligation to make sure that e-waste is recycled and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. The E-Waste Act creates an e-waste fund to help with the development of e-waste recycling or treatment facilities. The e-waste fund is financed by the advance eco levy, grants, donations, fundraising campaigns, funds approved by Parliament, and money from any source that can be lawfully put into the Fund.
E-waste facilities in Ghana
On the recommendation of the EPA, the Minister for the Environment may arrange for the construction of an e-waste recycling facility and associated infrastructure in Ghana, with funding from the e-waste fund. Currently, there is no state-owned e-waste facility in Ghana. However, there are a few private e-waste facilities in Accra. These are Electro Recycling Ghana, Neweco E-waste Recycling and Agbogbloshie E-waste Recycling Centre.
Offences and Sanctions
Where the EPA has a reasonable suspicion that any of the requirements E-Waste Act have not been met, it may serve an enforcement notice on the defaulting person and demand that they comply with the applicable requirements.
Failure to comply with an enforcement notice will result in an administrative penalty of not more than GHS 30,000.
 The Act does not define an advance eco levy. It does, however, refer to sums charged on the Fifth Schedule's list of electronic and electrical equipment products. The Fifth Schedule also includes the cost of the eco levy for each piece of equipment specified.