Visionscape to Fast-track Infrastructure Projects, Pay Absorbed WCOs  

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Visionscape Sanitation Solutions is strengthening its mandate to collect and dispose domestic wastes in Lagos State by employing willing Private Sector Participants (PSPs), now rebranded Waste Collection Operators (WCOs). Every one of them is welcome and the WCOs will work in their traditional turf, and they will keep their commercial jobs also, says Mr. John Irvine, Chief Executive Officer of Visionscape Sanitation Solutions. Bennett Oghiforeports

Existing Private Sector Participants (PSPs) in waste collection in Lagos State, willing to work with Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, are being employed by the company. Also, there is an arrangement for them to work in their traditional locations. This is in addition to working their statutory commercial waste evacuation jobs.

Chief Executive Officer of Visionscape, Mr. John Irvine informed journalists about this development at the weekend, explaining that “the WCOs are not working for the government, they are not working for LAWMA – it is basically a regulatory body. So, all LAWMA will be doing is ensuring that we as a client for the government are still appearing to have kept the conditions of the project. So, the best way we can do that is to immediately embrace all the new WCOs and they will be working directly for us; they will be contracted to Visionscape, they will be paid by Visionscape and they will be monitored and managed by Visionscape.”

Irvine said, “The Board and I approached the state government to fast-track the infrastructure projects,” the facilities that are to accommodate the waste generated on daily basis.

He said in the last 10 to 12 days they have been “talking to WCOs to come to some sort of agreement whereby Visionscape still delivers on the mandate of the residential collection, but fast-tracks the actual infrastructure projects.”

He compared the Lagos waste situation to that of New York, USA, which he said has 90 million residents, and 50 to 60 waste stations, but Lagos with a population that is close has only about half a dozen stations.

“What we have committed to is, part of the brief, to build swifter, bigger and more concise infrastructure, and while we are doing that, the WCOs will complement the waste stream. So, they are under our management,” he said.

That was basically the negotiations that were concluded in the last 12 days, he said. “Obviously, the WCOs were a bit upset with the government when Visionscape came on board. But as an international company, as I have said before in the press/media, we are not here to take anybody’s livelihoods or jobs away, and I hope that the events of over the last 10 to 15 days have shown that as a company we want to work with everybody and not just our own group of companies and this is the reason we have striven very hard to try and make this work along with the state, the WCOs, and the regulatory bodies.”

He said the whole project was about change and that “we are trying to make the state better for the residents and the people living here, but change/reform takes time. So, the idea was to fast-track the superstructure and infrastructure projects, to take up the existing PSP collectors, now rebranded WCOs, to deliver the door to door collection while we have turned our focus and build the infrastructure quicker.

“So, what we are entering into today should have been in year three of the 10-year project. We are bringing it forward; fast-tracking that investment to ensure that the WCOs have the ability to dispose the waste off holder and is done professionally and segregated and recycled and is disposed in a professional manner.”

He said all WCOs (PSPs) are welcome to work for them, adding that “We’ve reached out to every WCO; my stance is that nobody is being turned away from the door. There is a middle ground to be met.”

He said “a vast majority of the WCOs have the same aspiration/ambition as me – they want to deliver a project for Lagos- that is what we are here for. We are here to clean the state, to give a proper waste infrastructure so in 20, 50 years’ time, if another 10 million people come, the superstructure is here and the methodology is here. So, we have not turned anybody away and I’m not going to start turning anybody away.”

He said Visionscape would financially assist the existing WCOs if they want to purchase new vehicles. “We can’t deliver a 21st century service with 20 century equipment and I am not just talking about the WCOs’ vehicles, I’m talking about the infrastructure that is being upgraded, that we are building- that is the whole purpose, so in 10, 15 years’ time, we don’t face the same issues that we are facing now- we are building a future for another 20 million people.”