At the State House, Alausa after signing the Environmental Management and Protection Bill into law alongside Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, Chairman of Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Environment, Hon. Dayo Fafunmi and Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Mr. Kehinde Joseph among others, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has disclosed that the Lagos state Governement would introduce a new annual public utility levy to be paid by residents of the state under the new waste management regime, adding that a consortium that would be in charge of the new waste management system would deploy 900,000 bins across the state for waste management.
After signing the bill, Ambode said the public utility levy would be introduced to replace all service fees previously paid to the Waste Management authorities, adding that the public was carried along in determining the rates, which according to him, was relatively low, adding that the levy “will be a major contribution to the State’s ongoing efforts to address severe challenges that are unique to Lagos because of rising urbanization. The money will be held in the Environmental Trust Fund and managed meticulously by a Board of SEC regulated trustees. “The trustees are under strict obligations to the people of Lagos and will be accountable to the people for every naira we spend in line with our overall environmental agenda. Compliance is the key. The burden of the cost of providing these services will remain low if everyone does their part and pays their public utility levy and with the newly positioned LASECORPS, we will work within the community to enforce the new laws. The State will have a zero-tolerance policy for offenders because simply put, disregarding payment of your PUL or flouting the new regulations ultimately promotes activities that lead to the loss of lives.”
He has also said that over the concession period, the consortium would be deploying a large multidimensional fleet of over 20 landfill and transfer loading station management vehicles, 590 new rear-end loader compactors, 140 Operational vehicles and close to 900,000 new bins to all be electronically tracked and monitored by the Public Utilities Monitoring Assurance Unit under the Ministry of Environment.
Aside the fact that the initiative would create at least 27,500 jobs, Ambode has said that community sanitation workers (CSWs) “will be engaged to receive several incentives including tax reliefs and healthcare, life, injury and accident insurance benefits all aimed at tackling the issue of poverty and the chronic unemployment crisis.“Everyone from the cart pushers to the existing PSPs and casual workers at the dump sites have been considered in the plan and will be accommodated within the new environmental regime. In addition, we are extending opportunities to everyone along the value chain by working to create vocational training in the related areas through LASTVEB.”
Giving details of the law, the governor has said that sanitation would now be a daily affair in the State while the CSWs would be deployed in every ward across the state.
According to him, the new law would go a long way to secure the public health safety of residents most especially children. On assumption of office, I saw the need to address the gap in the sanitation of residents and the state.
He has said that it was disconcerting to see that dysentery and other pandemics were on the rise with serious implications for the State’s public health expenditure, saying that the Government thought it wise to tackle the root cause of the problem rather than spend excessively on treating preventable hygiene based diseases.