The Chairman, Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria, popularly called Private Sector Participant Operators, Mr. Oladipo Egbeyemi is a very passionate man. Passion is good when it is about noble and profitable things.
But Egbeyemi’s passion is not about the Cleaner Lagos Initiative. This fact is crystal clear in the interview he recently granted a national newspaper.
In that interview the AWAM chairman said, “Our members are busy doing what they know how to do best, which includes collection of refuse and dumping of the refuse at designated places.”
But when asked to respond to the claim that about 80% of PSPs had agreed to work with Visionscape, he said, “Then why are you still finding so much refuse on the streets?”
But the truth is, majority of the PSPs are ready to work with Visionscape and a lot of them are already doing that. It is only Egbeyemi and his faceless instigators that are bent on undermining the Lagos people, the State Government and Visionscape.
Citizen Egbeyemi showed he was miffed that Visionscape offered to pay the PSP operators N30,000 per trip to Epe landfill to elicit sympathy. But he did not mention that not every PSP operator will go to Epe to dump waste as Visionscape has made arrangement for them to drop it at Transfer Loading Stations (TLS) in strategic locations across the State – Agege, Oshodi, Tapa, while the company will convey the waste from the TLSes to the engineered landfill.
In the interview, Egbeyemi lamented that government was not giving PSPs the opportunity “to viably operate, to have the opportunity to purchase new trucks in case the ones I am using now get bad, to expand and be able to thrive.” Perhaps in his hurry to whip up undeserved sentiments, he deliberately refused to mention the fact that government had made provision for PSPs to access N2.5bn loan facility at low interest rate to boost their services, especially in getting modern compactors. Currently, many PSP compactors often break down on the road.
The AWAM chairman denied that Visionscape had made any investment in infrastructure. But Visionscape is constructing the first engineered landfill in West Africa, a multibillion naira investment. The firm is doing the complete modernisation of the TLSes and providing brand new waste depots. Thousands of waste bins of various sizes have been distributed across Lagos and hundreds of brand new waste utility vehicles are already deployed while more are still expected.
Egbeyemi went ahead to repeat the now popular lie that Visionscape gets a certain amount from the state government. The figure being allegedly given Visionscape changes depending on who is telling the story. But this time, Egbeyemi put it at N700 million.
But this is false. Visionscape operates a performance based contract. The fee payment issue is on public record. It is also mind-boggling that people like Egbeyemi have reduced the contract Visionscape has with government to only waste collection when it is actually a turnkey public-private partnership arrangement.
The state government and Visionscape do not say they don’t need PSPs. The PSPs renamed Waste Collection Operators were asked to focus on commercial waste while Visionscape do residential. The PSPs screamed blue murder.
Consequently, Visionscape waved the olive branch at them. The company ceded even the residential waste collection to the WCOs. It asked them to sign a one-year-contract. The new arrangement is for the WCOs to get the waste from the residences, drop it at the TLSes, and Visionscape will convey it to the Epe landfill.
I personally do not see any reason Egbeyemi and his fellow travellers should reject that offer, After all, if they perform as expected, the contract can be renewed.
Do the Egbeyemis of this world really want a cleaner Lagos?
If they do, then they should join hands with the state government to ensure the success of the CLI.