Lagos State Government has urged the state’s residents to embrace the Public Utility Levy (PUL) of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative aimed at ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment which will commence in 2018.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode made the plea, while presenting the Year 2018 Budget proposal of N1.046 trillion to the State House of Assembly, with a pledge that his administration will make every effort to complete all ongoing projects as well as initiate new ones to consolidate on the development recorded in the last 30 months

Ambode, who labelled the 2018 Budget as “Budget of Progress and Development”, said capital expenditure will gulp N699.082billion while N347.039billion will be dedicated to recurrent expenditure, representing a Capital/Recurrent ratio of 67 percent to 33 percent and a 28.67 percent increase over Y2017 budget.

The PUL under the Environmental Trust Fund was established as a funding mechanism to aid in tackling crucial environmental issues and the implementation of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative. PUL is to be paid by residents of the state under the new waste management system. According to the Governor, the Public Utility Levy will be introduced to replace all service fees previously paid to the Waste Management authorities.

In the wake of the rising urbanization in Lagos state, The Public Utility Levy (PUL) will be a major contribution to the State’s ongoing efforts to address severe challenges that are unique to Lagos state. The money will be held in the Environmental Trust Fund and managed meticulously by a Board of Stock Exchange Commission regulated trustees. In Governor Ambode’s words, “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 PUL.”
Furthermore, Governor Ambode stated that a large multi-dimensional 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 which will be electronically tracked and monitored by a new unit, PUMAU (Public Utilities Monitoring Assurance Unit) under the Ministry of Environment, will also be deployed. This will consequentially create at least 27,500 direct jobs for Lagos residents.
In addition, the Community Sanitation Workers (CSW), who would be engaged, will receive several incentives such as tax reliefs, healthcare, life, injury and accident insurance.
The governor expressed optimism that the new law will go a long way to secure the public health safety of residents, most especially children, stressing that on assumption of office, he saw the need to address the gap in the sanitation of residents and the State.
He expressed his concern that dysentery and other pandemics are on the rise with serious implications for the State’s public health expenditure, adding that the government thought it wise to tackle the root cause of the problem rather than spend excessively on treating preventable hygiene based diseases. To this effect, the Governor said that sanitation will now be a daily affair in the state while the CSWs will be deployed in every ward across the state.
Governor Ambode assured that in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, the commercial sector will be serviced by licensed waste management operators while an environmental consortium will provide waste collection, processing and disposal services for residential properties through a long term concession. He enjoined Lagosians to work towards “a healthier and cleaner Lagos for our children – our future”.

By Marc Philips