Owing to prolong disagreement among stakeholders, garbages are overtaking Ibadan the state capital. BAYO AGBOOLA reports.
Cleanliness, they say, is next to Godliness and it is no doubt that the ways to achieving cleaningness is fast becoming the order of the day especially in the present day where governments at all levels are now becoming keenly interested in ensuring a clean environment in their areas.
In Oyo state, it is no longer news that the state government had been battling with refuse disposal in Ibadan, the state capital with little or no success as efforts put in place by successive administrations died natural death especially after the tenure of such an administration.
Tackling refuse disposal in Ibadan has become problematic as it often brews one issue or the other for the government as well as those in the helm of affairs.
Since the time of late Otunba Adebayo Alao Akala to late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, it has always been war between the government agents in charge on one side and contactors on the other side leading to abandoned heaps on major streets.
The recent imbroglio
The battle reared its ugly head again with the on going face off between the Oyo Waste Contractors and the
Oyo State Waste Management Consultant, Mottainai Recycling Ltd
with the Waste contractors in a
save-our-soul message to Governor Seyi Makinde on what they described as counterproductive approach to waste management which according to them is capable of truncating the huge investment and efforts of the present government in ensuring a clean and green Oyo state.
They accused the consultant of frustrating them from helping the government achieve the desired results and that except Gov Makinde is determined to personally sit down with critical stakeholders and waste contractors in the state in a round table talks where all the rots in the system would be unravelled to him directly, there may be no hope in sight to achieve the desired results.
Other issues raised by them in the petition to Gov Makinde included urgent and direct intervention of the governor on the purported compelling payments of all charges directly into the bank account of Waste Consultant before the consultant decides on what percentage goes to government and what comes to them. Also that despite their members compliance with the new policy in the spirit of trust and faith in Governor Makinde, the approach has been exploitative because many members who have delivered services and incurred huge operation costs were yet to get payments for services provided which according to them now runs into several months despite payments of monies generated from waste collection into the consultant’s bank account.
“The consultant gave us his company tickets belonging to Motainai Recycling company to issue to our customers for money collection on services. We, the waste contractors, not only provided but also bored 100 percent of the cost of operation. This is pure modern day slavery and we know the governor is not aware of this; that’s why some individuals are preventing His Excellency from seeing or meeting with us,” Mr Henry Olayinka Kayode, one of the waste contractors lamented.
The waste contractors also lamented over the waste consultant’s alleged zero inputs of any kind to their operations and incurs no cost as waste contractors are responsible for individual cost of operation which include workers wages, trucks and compactors maintenance, payment of statutory fees to government and other expenses wondering why government that is generally adjudged to be friend of the masses would allow what they call modern day slavery to stand.
“Can you imagine that after receiving payments from various waste contractors into the consultant’s bank account, it becomes serious a problem at the end of the month for the consultant to track payment history for the month in which customers have made payments and be able to easily make payments to such waste contractors. By so doing, many of us who have collected loans and outsourced for funds to remain in business have been thrown into serious problems while some who never got out of such troubles are now out of business.
An elderly member of the association Mr Henry Olayinka Kayode said, “A situation where waste contractors of about 500 to 700 are reduced to less than 200 for instance, all in a bid to reduce the number of waste contractors they’ll be obligated to at the end of the month while targeting increased revenue will always be counterproductive and lead to more dirt on the roads and medians.”
Accusations against contractors
The managing director, Oyo State Waste Management Consultant, Mottainai Recycling Ltd, Mr Mr Adegoroye Adewuyi, on his part said the core of Mottainai’s responsibilities as approved by Governor Makinde is to ensure that the mandate of a cleaner state is achieved.
“Our mandate as the waste consultant is to come up with policies and administer an effective and efficient waste management process across the state. As a private entity, we operate a merit and capacity-based system across board and more particularly as it relates to waste operators in the state. We cannot run a Private Sector Participation (PSP) model due to the nature of our contract with the state government; hence the introduction of a franchisee model which has set guidelines that would govern both Mottainai and its franchise for an effective and transparent waste management system.
“It’s a two-pronged approach; we could either engage in direct collection of waste from source or engage the services of the existing waste collectors or bring on board, seek out new investors/participants in the sector. A major criterion that qualifies a waste collector to work with us is evidence of capacity and not the fact one has operated as an operator for several years. The level of customer satisfaction recorded, ownership of appropriate vehicles, compliance with existing guidelines etc are some of the prerequisites of being an accredited operator under the Mottainai model.”
Adewuyi pointed out that as part of the company’s measures to improve the welfare and viability of the waste operators, the review and standardisation of appropriate waste tariffs as well as the introduction of a sharing percentage of 60/40% was drawn up and that the sole responsibility of the operators is to ensure that the customers are serviced regularly, dockets are issued as agreed. “Mottainai then takes on the responsibility of managing invoicing, payment generation, split sharing etc amongst other responsibilities which has brought about a positive effect to date.”
According to Adewuyi, Mottainai Recycling Ltd has been covering up for the shortcomings of waste contractors who have not been visiting allotted operational slots and that many of them, who have been complaining, could not meet up with their obligations, and that such impoundment is to make enforcement effective while ensuring efficiency.
“It is only in Ibadan that I have encountered a person who doesn’t own a truck and goes about borrowing or hiring trucks that would call him or herself a waste contractor. We conducted a Waste Management Audit in order to understand the sector, its lapses and strengths and figure out ways to improve and protect the economy of the state. We do not believe in sacking people arbitrarily as we advocate for engaging with people based on their capabilities. The results of the audit conducted showed that a lot of operators falsified claims of truck ownership; indulge in indiscriminate disposal of wastes which also contributed to the unrelenting and indiscriminate nature of waste disposal.
“Also, we introduced the use of waste compliance notes (also known as dockets). These dockets are issued by the operators to customers as evidence of service rendered as it contains information like the number of waste bins collected, the date and time of service, the homeowner/customer signature. The dockets are then used by Mottainai as a basis for the issuance of an invoice to the customer for services rendered.
So, our investigation revealed that some of them are now actually working with those trucks they brought in for recertification; so they lied their way in. We also observed that a lot of the erring operators do not service customers regularly; refuse to issue dockets for service rendered and indulge in the collection of direct cash payments which is in flagrant disregard of the agreed standards. This results in complaints from customers which results in Mottainai taking on the duties of these operators in order to satisfy these customers. The way it works is that we are ensuring that all hands are on deck to ensure the effective management of the solid waste architecture which in turn impacts on the environment under the Zero Waste, Zero Budget Initiative.”
It is hoped that the second coming of Engr Makinde would put an end to the prolonged battle between the waste disposal contractors and the state government agency.