Contrary to the belief in some quarters that the newly harmonised bill on the environment passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly was targeted at PSP operators, a lawmaker in the assembly, Hon. Saka Fafunmi has said that the law would ensure best practises, and create over 27,000 jobs.
Fafunmi, who is the Chairman, House Committee on the Environment stated further in an interview after the passage of the bill into law by the House that it is not just about PSP, but that it is about a total and holistic issues concerning environment in the State.
The bill is titled, ‘A Bill for a Law to Consolidate all Laws relating to the Environment for the Management, Protection and Sustainable Development of the Environment in Lagos State and for Connected Purposes.’
The lawmaker explained that the law is targeted at consolidating and harmonising all laws as regards the environment, adding that the amendment that affects the area of solid waste is just about one or two percent of the whole bill.
“The bill is set to revolutionalise environment in Lagos State. The state has a population of about 26 million people. The existing legal framework could not cope with the challenges and increase in the population of the state anymore.
“So there is a need to review the entire law on the environment and that is what we have done. The bill is not targeted at anybody or a group of people. It is not targeted at any PSP. It is addressing the issue of overlap amongst the ministries.
“It was when we consolidated the law that we discovered the overlap. It is not just a Bill for the PSP unless you are being sentimental. The intervention of the PSP is the making of LAWMA.
“The responsibility of LAWMA is to maintain the environment as regards solid waste. We discovered that LAWMA cannot regulate the system as long as it is an operator. You cannot be an operator and a regulator. That made us to say that LAWMA should stop operating, they should regulate,” he said.
According to the lawmaker, who is representing Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency 1 in the House, some of the PSP operators don’t have compactors, and that there have been several complaints about them from the people.
He stressed that the government decided to provide an amendment to the existing law on the environment because the increase in population has overwhelmed the operators in terms of capacity.
“LAWMA is saddled with managing the system and also operating. This is the only state in Nigeria that is doing well during recession, look at our roads, look at the environment, street lights, traffic lights and other infrastructure.
“You can count a number of bridges that have been constructed and all these bother around attaining the megacity status of the state. For Lagos to attain the megacity status, it has to review its policy on waste management and waste disposal, and investors are willing to bring in over 600 trucks.
“The law says concessionaires. The law even allows the PSP to compete if they want to if they have new compactors and comply with the dictates of the new law. It is mere sentiment when people say there would be job loss because of this.
“The PSP operators are just about 350 and how many people did they employ? At best, they employ 10 staffs each, and that is just about 3,500, but with the new arrangement, the government would generate about 27,500 jobs.
“So, what is the basis for comparison, and with this, the residents of the state would not pay more, they would even pay less. Your bill would be paid once in a year and they would have a standard bill. It would be like land use charge, and if you pay yearly, it would be about N12,000 per annum.”