As Nigerians groan under the weight of rising energy costs in the country, institutions and agencies of government are also feeling the heat in terms of running or operating costs.
One of such agencies is the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) which says it is considering raising the waste collection bill it charges Lagos residents by as high as 50 percent.
Between January and July this year, the price of diesel which is used to power most machines, homes and offices in Nigeria has gone up by an average of 136 percent from N330.00 to N780.00 per litre.
At an expanded press conference in Lagos recently, Ibrahim Odumboni, managing director of LAWMA, explained that the increase in the collection bill has become necessary given the high operating cost incurred by private sector participants (PSP).
By his calculation, the price of diesel in the country has increased by 300 percent, explaining that the price of the commodity per litre has moved from N278 in January to about N875.
“While the high cost is about 300 percent, we are proposing 50 percent increase across board; the state government is providing additional subsidy on diesel for PSPs,” he explained, noting that the state and its residents generate 13,000 metric tonnes of wastes daily, and the waste collection trucks are run with diesel.
Odumboni noted that poor attitude to waste management, heavy rains and particularly the recent cost of diesel posed huge challenges to the cost of operation.
According to him, the PSP operators and residents’ associations will be allowed to fix increase in tariff for domestic waste, which LAWMA has pegged at 50 percent maximum.
“PSP, CDA/CDC and LAWMA will take part in the review process, we want to appeal to tenements; the quicker we resolve this the better it will be for us in terms of the percentage increase,” he said.
Continuing, he said, “in some cases, it might be lesser than that because waste is dependent on your individual lifestyles; we are in the process of extensive and consultative pricing review for PSP services that we offer in household, knowing full well that we are trying to recognise the economic trend in Nigeria.
“We are trying to ensure that we are not introducing any change that will automatically disenfranchise people and cause the menace of waste in our immediate society,” he said.
In addition to the increase in collection bill, Odumboni disclosed that the agency was also considering the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) to power PSP trucks as part to address the problem of high energy cost.
Though the managing director appealed to Lagos residents to patronise PSP operators instead of the illegal cart pushers who dump refuse indiscriminately, he warned that households found to be without waste bins risk sanction starting from October 1, 2022.
“It is wrong for a compound of several houses to have just one waste bin; if you don’t have a bin from October 1, you may be prosecuted,” he said, adding that sanitary officers would go round from house to house to advocate on the importance of adopting a bin and sorting of wastes.
According to him, the agency is working on the creation of transfer loading stations (TLS) in all the LGAs of the state, for fast and smooth evacuation of waste around the metropolis.