Sunday, 28 January 2018

London Worse Than Lagos When Waste Services Privatised - Visionscape

Concerned about the recent return of wastes to the streets of Lagos State, the Visionscape Group at the weekend appealed urged the residents to be patient, noting that the streets of London were worse when the British Government privatised public services in the 1980s.
The group, an environmental utility multinational with four other subsidiaries, disclosed that it had set a period of 18 months to clear wastes from the streets of the state, explaining that the period would enable it to mobilise, stabilise and augment its operations across the state.
The group, currently operating in the United Kingdom (UK) and United Arab Emirates (UAE), denied working against the previous waste operators under the public support participation (PSP), disclosing that it was working with other PSP operators contrary to public perception.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. John Irvine explained rationales behind the recent return of garbage to the streets of Lagos State during an interview he granted THISDAY in his Alausa Office at the weekend, assuring the residents that his team was already addressing the challenges.
He said the return of waste to the streets was normal, especially when the government just privatised its services, citing the case of London, which he said, was much dirtier than the streets of Lagos State immediately after the British Government privatised public services in the 1980s.
However, Irvine assured that within a period of 18 months, the story of Lagos “will change. We are currently at the stage of first cycle of our contract. What we mean by first cycle implies when the government stops rendering the core service and invites a private company to do it.
“The PSP operators were delivering the services on behalf of the state before we came in. I am not different from the PSP operator. I am a PSP operator. The only difference is that I am slightly larger. What happened was the communication and the emerging of a contract from state ownership to private ownership, there is always a gap. There is always a big transition period.
“The first stage is mobilisation, which will take us between four and five months. The second stage is stabilisation. The stage will take us between three and four months. The last stage is augmentation. This is also between three and four months. We will clear the streets of Lagos State within the transition period and move to another stage entirely.
“If you look at London in the 1980s when the British Government decided to privatise public services, London streets were worse than Lagos streets. Garbage piled up on the streets. People were on strike. People blocked roads. This always happened at the first cycle because the integration period takes time to deliver services,” the chief executive explained.
He noted that the contract between the Visionscape Group and Lagos State Government “is clear all residential wastes in 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas. We have signed the contract. And that is where the problem started.
“Suddenly, there is more work than we anticipated. I know there are challenges at this moment. We are ahead of schedules. However, the volume of wastes that have gone into the contract after signing is the problem we have just now. We have already spoken with the state government on how we are managing that process,” Irvine explained.
He added that no company in the world “can provide 600 vehicles. Come back in 18 months. You will shake my hands for a good my company is doing in Lagos State. It takes time. If you go to a tailor and ask him to make your suit, you will not get the suit that day. It takes time to make the suit. It is a simple principle that we must all understand.”   (Thisday)

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