Dozens of private waste operators on Wednesday marched to the Lagos House of Assembly to demand the intervention of lawmakers in the increasingly filthy state of the metropolis.
The operators appealed to the Assembly to save their business and the thousands of jobs they created.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, the waste operators pleaded that they be allowed to continue operation in both domestic and commercial waste collection.
“That foreign investors should be encouraged to invest in the lacking infrastructure that will support effective waste management such as Material Recovery Facilities, Engineered Sanitary Landfill sites, etc,” read the letter written by Ola Egbeyemi and Taiye Kolade, the group’s chairman and secretary respectively.
For months, the private waste operators (also known as Private Sector Participants, PSP operators) in the state have been at loggerheads with the executive arm of the government over the latter’s decision to remove them from the domestic waste collection.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, last year, signed into law an environmental bill that empowered a concessionaire to take over the domestic collection of refuse across the state.
Afterward, the government launched a Cleaner Lagos Initiative that saw a Dubai-based firm, Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, contracted to handle domestic waste collection.
Aggrieved at the government’s decision to remove them from the lucrative domestic waste business, the PSP operators headed to court where the judge encouraged an out-of-court settlement between the parties.
The settlement has remained deadlocked, as both parties have refused to shift grounds.
A PREMIUM TIMES report last month detailed how the Dubai-based firm had begun to recruit some of the local PSP operators to help in the evacuation of waste.
In their letter on Wednesday, the private waste operators said they are now facing a situation where “a foreign company without capacity” is trying to engage PSP operators who have almost 1,000 trucks and over 20 years of experience on the job.
“The government has decided to restrict the PSP operators to manage only the commercial waste collection which is less than 20 per cent of our current activities,” the letter read.
“The current market value of the commercial waste collection is N301 million while the number of enlisted PSP operators are 365 with a total number of trucks of 931.
“The commercial premises if shared based on capacity will result in revenue that is grossly inadequate for any operator hereby affecting our viability.
“The problem is compounded by the closure of Olusosun dumpsite which will result in an increase in our logistics cost and adversely affect the turnaround time.”
The operators said that an analysis of the commercial business currently offered them showed that only 31 companies earned 52 per cent of the commercial revenue.
“The 31 operators represent only eight per cent of operators and they are nervous at the risk of seeing their revenue reduced significantly as a result of redistribution.
“On the other hand, 92 per cent of operators either solely operate in the domestic waste collection or earn a significant revenue from it. They are currently facing a 100 per cent loss of revenue if and when Visionscape takes over the domestic waste collection.
“While the sharing of the commercial waste collection provides some revenue, it is still grossly inadequate to make them viable. The conclusion is that the policy to restrict the waste operator to only commercial waste collection will destroy all existing operators and investments.”