Waste Contractors in Oyo state have sent a save our soul message to the Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde over what they described as counterproductive approach to waste management which they said is capable of truncating the huge investment and efforts of the present government in ensuring a clean and green Oyo state.
The waste contractors recalled that it was the collectiveness and genuineness of purpose of waste collectors across the state that earned the former governor, late Abiola Ajimobi the title of Aare of Atunluse of Ibadanland from the then Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Soliu Adetunji Aje Ogunguniso I, without engaging any consultant noting that it was the introduction of Consultancy service during the second term of the late governor that birthed the challenges that have continued to linger till date.
The waste contractors noted that they have refrained from speaking up on the matter for a long time with the hope that the situation was going to abate but noted that things now appear to be getting worse despite the commitment of the Makinde led government to ensure a clean and green environment across the state adding that many waste contractors are already going out of business not on account of inefficiency and service delivery but of highhandedneas, indebtedness to waste contractors, unreasonable charges and job insecurity.
Speaking with journalists yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, some of the aggrieved waste contractors who lamented how the approach and operations of the waste consultant, Mottainai Recycling company, engaged by the state government has continued to frustrate them from helping the government achieve the desired results said except governor 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.
Some of the issues raised by the waste contractors needing urgent and direct intervention of governor Makinde include but not limited to compelling payments of all charges directly into the bank account of Mottainai Recycling company; the waste consultant in charge before the consultant decides on what percentage goes to government and what comes to them.
They also noted that despite members reluctantly complying with the new policy in the spirit of trust and faith in Governor Makinde, the approach has become seriously 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 Motaina 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 nitty gritty 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 such which alleged ‘modern day slavery’ 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 into the Consultant’s bank account 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.” Another waste contractor, Ademola Akinmolasere, lamented bitterly.
Another allegation raised by the waste contractors was the purported ‘politicization’ of their business and operations where the consultant would singlehandedly determine contrary to the agreement and rules of engagement as contained in the guidelines regulating their operations, unilaterally impound their waste trucks to cripple their ability to operate to make way for certain cronmies and allies who may also want to take over the routes described as prime areas.
An elderly Mr. Henry Olayinka Kayode, while expressing his frustration to journalists yesterday noted that in his over forty years of being in the waste collection business, he had never experienced what is currently happening in the state under the current Consultant stressing that “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 dirts on the roads and medians.”
According to Mr Kayode, who accused the consultant of placing money as the primary motive above service delivery, said, while it was important for government to generate revenue through waste, it was more important to not allow the quest to make money override the primary purpose and underlying factor in the waste management business, which is service delivery and keeping the state clean and maintaining a friendly environment.
He explained further that the waste consultant introduced a number of policies that are alien and portend danger for a sustainable waste management system in the state if allowed to be sustained by the governor because it may bring about major setbacks when waste contractors continue to go out of business stressing that government should open up the business in form of deregulation and allow more waste contractors come in to achieve the clean and green agenda noting that if the fear of financial obligation to waste contractors at the end of the month becomes too much of a burden to bear, the government should also think of the real value being provided in terms of revenue and improved service delivery.
Another waste contractor, Mr Odefunke Sunday, whose waste truck was allegedly impounded by Mottainai Recycling company confirmed to journalists that he just secured the release of his truck to continue his job. He maintained that there are laws guiding and regulating their operations including a special taskforce court that should determine offenses and penalties for defaulters while regretting that despite the several provisions of the state laws, the consultant has made himself a demigod who can do and undo without anybody calling him order.
“Let me tell you, some of our people who have been victimized on this job are already mobilizing to go on radio and television but because of the genuine intent of governor Makinde and his passion for Oyo state that we know for sure, we have restrain them from going ahead because we know only few who seriously benefiting from what is happening now are behind this lingering challenges and they will do everything to shield it from governor’s attention but we also know that our governor is seeing our roads and streets and their unpleasant conditions, that’s why we are appealing to have a one on one meeting with His Excellency, for permanent solution.
“We did it before in the first term of late governor Ajimobi and we can do it over and over again, if only government wants a permanent and practical solution. Some of our members are elders and leaders of over thirty to forty years in this business. They know the practical solution apart from what the few privileged around the governor may be telling him. Those profiting from this present challenges would do everything to prevent the governor from meeting our people but we hope and pray that the governor will as a matter of urgency see the need now than ever before, why the meeting is not only exigent but very important and crucial.” Mrs. Yinka Adigun, another waste contractor disclosed.
When contacted for his reaction, the Managing Director of Mottainai Recycling company, Mr Adeniyi Adewuyi, debunked all the allegations levelled against him describing them as unsubstantiated, spurious, baseless, and unfounded stressing that it was clearly a case of corruption fighting back at every efforts made to sanitize the system.
He however, admitted to the allegation of impounding waste trucks that fail to deliver stressing that the company has the responsibility to cover for the shortfalls of waste contractors that could not meet up with its obligation adding that such impounding is to make enforcement effective while ensuring efficiency and not to witchhunt or victimize anybody as alleged.
In his words, “our mandate as the waste consultant is to come up with policies and administer waste management process for the state. And being a private firm, we can not run on the basis of PDP that government has operated so, as a private company we had to come up with a franchise model and under this model we had to also come up with guidelines that will be followed and adhered to.
“It’s a two prong approach; we could go ahead to pick up the wastes ourselves or alternatively engage the service of existing waste collectors, or look for new investors. Now being an existing waste collector, what qualifies you to be a waste contractor? It is your capacity to deliver not just being a waste collector. It is only here in Ibadan that I’ve encountered someone who doesn’t have a truck and goes about borrowing or hiring trucks that would call him or herself a waste contractor.
“If you want to look at the genesis, when we came in, we were able to carry out an audit in order to protect the economy of the state. You can not just come in and start sacking people, you have to relate with them on the basis of their capacities. So, we called for audit and a lot of people, then we later realized that some of them went and hired trucks to lie their way in, and at the end of the day we realized that the wastes out there did not abate.
“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. And under the franchise model, you’re expected to have what we call a docket, that is an evidence of service provided. So when you go out there, for you to show that you’ve serviced a place, you give them a docket which is the number of drums, the days of pick ups, the house owners or customer signature. When you’re done, you’re expected to bring this docket to us to be analyzed.
“It is under that basis that we’re able to bill the customers, an under the franchise model, you’re working under a franchise, it’s not like you’re the owner of the customers, it is the franchisee that’s the owner of the contract, yours is just to go an pick the wastes and get paid your cut. So, I want to believe that’s what they referred to as they’re the ones working and they’re being payed certain rates.”
He said as part of the company’s measures to improve on the income of waste contractors, took it upon itself to review tariffs of some industries to a more profitable rates which then gave birth to the sharing formula of 60/40 percent which has brought about a positive effect. The way it works is that, we cater for the environment under the zero wastes, zero budget initiative where government does not pay for anything anymore.