KDSG regrets waste pile up, commences emergency collection scheme
By; ABDULL-AZEEZ AHMED KADIR, Kaduna.
Kaduna State Government this weekend said it regretted the pile up of refuse and commenced emergency waste collection and disposal programmes around the state to rid the metropolis of pile of refuse that has taken over major parts of the town as a result of the strike embarked upon by the waste disposal contractors due to non payment.
In a statement signed by Samule Aruwan, Special Assistant, Media and Publicity t0 Governor Nasir Ahmad El-rufai, the government requested the understanding of the public and asked for their support in ensuring that the intervention clean-up activities succeed.
According to him, the intervention programme “is designed to address the gaps in the waste collection process caused by the strike action of waste contractors. The sudden stoppage of waste collection by the contractors led to a pile up of waste in several locations.”
He explained that the emergency waste collection programme is covering all the areas that have been abandoned by the striking waste contractors, and the programme is employing 6,600 youths to clean metropolitan Kaduna and other areas. This emergency intervention, he added, will continue for the next three months, while processes for a new system of waste collection are concluded.
“This intervention to remove municipal solid waste is designed as a community-based effort, employing youths from the communities to keep their neighbourhoods clean. The programme is expected to boost sanitation and simultaneously have an economic impact on the communities concerned.
“The previous waste collection contractors began their strike action on 20 October 2015. They based their action on the non-payment of their claims. At best, these claims constitute part of the inherited liabilities of the government. Like other claims for payment, they have to be subjected to verification of performance and accurate determination of any payments due. But the contractors felt entitled to unquestioning and speedy payment.
“They resorted to the blackmail, in the hope that a pile-up of refuse will compel the government to succumb to their claims. The government responded to this contract violation by commencing limited waste evacuation to manage the situation, while arranging for the more comprehensive intervention which has now started. The government is aware of the partisan affiliations of the waste contractors who owed their contracts to party patronage. But prudence with public resources must always trump the blackmail of vested interests.
“The waste collection contractors were costing the state government N120m monthly, with local governments paying additional N24m monthly. The previous government further assisted the contractors with waste collection equipment, and they have not repaid up to 50% of the cost. The tricycles that were supplied have less than 30% repayment. Some of these equipments have disappeared, and the Ministry of Environment has been directed to retrieve all of them. The unpaid cost of equipment will be set-off from whatever payments may eventually be adjudged valid.
“Despite these expenses, these contractors covered only 60% of Kaduna metropolis, and an assessment of their performance conducted by the Ministry of Environment indicated that only about 20 per cent of the contractors were performing at average level. When the waste was collected, it was often dumped within the city without utilizing the landfills. There is no way the government will be pressured into paying for service not delivered. Any service that is verified to have been delivered to the expected level will eventually be paid.
“The priority of the Kaduna State Government is keeping the state clean at the most-effective rate. As the effort unfolds with community involvement, the government urges the members of the public not to indulge in or allow refuse to be dumped on the streets.” The statement concluded.