OGWAMA: Setting Pace in Waste Management

Governor Dapo Abiodu

Olufemi Ezekiel

The Ogun State government has set necessary machinery in motion to reinvigorate waste disposal across the state.

This new approach is to create a clean and healthy environment for the common good of all residents, as well as generate income for the government through proper waste management.

Recently, at the grand finale of a Town Hall Meeting on the 2020 Budget and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun said, “We decided to set up the Ogun State Waste Management Authority (OGWAMA), because when we came in, we had the Authority under the Ministry of the Environment. But we realised the fact that there were gaps and that the Authority was not effective. We saw what was obtained in other states. We saw how much revenue was being generated from it.

“We had the bill sent to the State House of Assembly and the House has approved it. We now have the Ogun State Waste Management Authority (OGWAMA), which is being headed by an experienced person.”

Heading the reinvigorated Authority is Mr. Oladimeji Oresanya, an environmentalist, who until his recent appointment as Special Adviser (SA) on OGWAMA to the Governor, had served two erstwhile Lagos State Governors, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Mr Raji Fashola (SAN), respectively as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), from 2005 to August 2015. He has brought his long years of experience as a trained geologist to bear in reinvigorating the OGWAMA.

As a member of the Design and Review team of Keele Valley Landfill site, Ontario, Canada, who also supervised the design and construction of the World Bank sponsored Lagos Landfill site, Oresanya, an authority in waste management and environmental development in Africa, is working on the mandate of Governor, Abiodun, anchored on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach.

At the presentation of the 2020 Appropriation bill to the State House of Assembly, on December 3, 2019, Governor Abiodun said: “One important critical aspect of fund generation is our Public-Private Partnerships approach. It is crucial, if we want to engender successful PPP, to build a culture of good governance which includes but not limited to transparent Public Financial Management. This will assure our partners of our PPP. Therefore, we have to improve on our processes and procedures so as to match up with the pace of our partners.

“We have to show that the partnership will be beneficial. Above all, we have to show that we are truly a worthy partner. I am very sure that the Ogun State Public Service is capable of this.”
While addressing members of the Association of Waste Managers under the aegis of the Private Sector Participation (PSP), Ogun State chapter, at a recent parley held at the Governor’s office, Okemosan, Abeokuta, Oresanya made reference to the commitment of the governor towards ensuring that the PSP operators are prosperous in the new business of cleaning the cities.

According to him, “The governor has demonstrated his commitment during the campaign. Whether you voted for the new government or not, this is your government. It is our government and you must be empowered. I am sure that many of you supported the new train of the new agenda in the state. And because of that, we have to empower you and the governor is sacrosanct about that. And the mandate that the governor gave me as Special Adviser is to help the administration look into how we can empower our people. And you are the people we want to empower.

“Now, the key thing there is that the governor wants me to empower you. But, how prepared are you? Are you ready to make the efforts yourself so that we can carry you along when you are coming in? That is the truth. And what are the requirements? We need to review your register as real PSP operators in the state.

“It is a new ball game. From next year January 2020, by the grace of God, we will need to update our registers. And who and who are the real PSP operators in the state? I know you have an original register with the Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency (OGEPA), where some of you were licensed for industrial waste collections, while some were licensed for purchasing recyclable and the rest of it.”

However, Oresanya seized the occasion to inform the waste collectors of the resolve of the present administration to collapse the register.

Oresanya stated that there was a need to collapse the register, as well as update the list of members. He believed that, once that was done, there would not be any need to pay money for registration for the membership of the PSP.

Oresanya said: “All we are concerned about is the qualitative register. Who is qualified to be a PSP operator? One, the company must be registered under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). We can’t register you, if you don’t have government’s accreditation. And we are going to do checks. If we found out that you are fake, we will disqualify you and we will blacklist you.

“So, a copy of the CAC registration is required. That is when we will know you as a company. Two, an evidence of payment of tax in Ogun State is important. So, you are going to attach that tax payment. And that is the only way we can know that you are a responsible organisation. There is a company tax and there is a director or individual tax. So, the state’s tax is very, very important. You should also know that you should pay company tax, because if you are registered with the CAC you should have been paying your tax. That is very, very important
“Coming to registration with the public procurement agency, the state government is magnanimous enough to lay the matter to rest in the interim, pending when the government concludes arrangements. Instead, it expects the operators to show that their respective organisations are responsible and their promoters are responsible people.

“Ensure that all your registrations are complete and intact. And you will need to forward the details of the registration to us now. You will need to apply as a PSP operator in Ogun State. We are going to open files for everyone. Your former file will be updated. You will register under a new scheme, because by the time opportunities are coming, these are the documents the banks and those that want to support you will rely on. It is not when you have submitted your names for empowerment that we will now find out that it is a fake company, and that you are not even paying taxes. It will be embarrassing.

“We will leave it better than Lagos. Lagos has done well. Who says we cannot do better than Lagos? Don’t be afraid how it is going to happen. A compactor was N3 million in the past and the people were doubtful of how they could afford to raise the amount in Lagos. But today, everybody has compactors. The same thing would happen in Ogun State. Don’t be afraid, we are going to work with you to make it happen.

“We may have to merge you to enable you have a strong capacity. The final arrangement is being done in-house and it is going to be a zonal arrangement with capacity. Those of you that are already inside and those of you who are just coming, we won’t displace you just like that. Because I am sure, one thing that I know, the moment that they see that we are having a good structure, everybody would want to come here in Ogun State.

“My job is to protect those who are in-house. My job also is to allow opportunities for those who are coming in. Let us have open minds; we are all going to prosper. Many of us do not realise this. Do you know that PSP started in Oyo State during the administration of Chief Bola Ige between 1979 and 1983 and Ogun State picked it during the military regime of Oladipupo Diya? That was when household waste storage was introduced in Ogun State where people had painted drums, compulsorily and people started paying.”

While underscoring the importance of compactors for the effective and efficient take-off of the scheme, Oresanya, on behalf of the government, gave a six-month window of opportunity for the operators to procure their equipment. According to him, “Compactors should not be made compulsory for now, but those in-house, we would give six months. The six months is long enough for anybody to get the right equipment. But the question now is, will the government wait for six months to keep the cities clean? No! The government wants the cities to be clean immediately.

“So, we need to have interim arrangements. I know some of you may decide to get the compactors within three months. We would find a way to accommodate your requests. Within the window of that six months, each will be operating in a particular place. Within six months, from now till June next year, you still have a right to maintain that place under an arrangement. Our own is to pay for the cleaning. Whatever you want to do to make it clean, must be in agreement with us. And, we must see evidence that so, so company has paid for the compactors and that the vehicles would be arriving at so, so time.

“But if we can’t see evidence that you are doing anything about it, then, we will be forced to re-allocate such an area. There are some companies that will lease out compactors and some of these companies are in Lagos. All their own job is to lease out the equipment. You will have an agreement with them within that six months window. You will lease the equipment and we must know that you are leasing the equipment, just to keep the place clean, while we will allow you to work in that area. After June next year, 2020, we may not guarantee you. I want to believe that is clear enough.”

Oresanya said many dumpsites in the state were empty, while the government will not relent in appointing agents for the dump sites. He added that the government was going to start keeping records on the various dump sites in the state.

“If we don’t see your record that you are using our dump sites, that means you are not patronising us or doing anything and we can delist you. There must be evidence of patronage from the dump site. If you are saying you are a PSP operator in Ogun State and we can’t trace where you are dumping refuse then, you are the one dumping on the roads, you are the one dumping in the canal. So, that has to commence almost immediately,” Oresanya noted.

––Ezekiel wrote from Ota, Ogun State.