- Water-tight security in Kano •7 churches, 8 shops razed - Police
- Terror suspect nabbed with N3m •As army uncovers bomb factory
- 2012, deadliest year for journalists - UN
- Court adjourns on missing N12.4bn oil windfall
- Why we cleared Molete under-bridge - Oyo govt
- Court jails courier over $286,400 cash
- Court rejects fridge repairer’s plea to keep Ibori’s bribe money
- Oyo to involve artisans in N.5bn schools rehabilitation contracts
- All set for LG poll today in Benue
- Mrs Braithwaite buried amid encomiums
- Forget presidency, Jonathan’s aide tells ex-military rulers
- FG sends delegation to Onaiyekan’s consecration, Suntai
We Want To Empower Nigerians Through Waste Recycling -PFN
Olusegun Kowontan Jnr, an expert in Business Management, Marketing and Branding, is the Chief Executive Officer of Project Fix Nigeria (PFN), a consulting firm that is set to translate people’s environmental wastes to wealth through recycling. He speaks on making steady money from waste.
One major problem confronting government at all levels is the seeming inability to manage environmental waste. What is the way out?
Every society generates waste. It is just normal that since we generate waste on a daily basis, a way should be adopted in converting them to what will benefit the society. Since the government has no business being in business, the private sector has to be involved. For the private sector to be involved, there is what we call 2Ps – public/private partnership system, which has not been able to work in Nigeria because it has only succeeded in putting money into private pockets. So, to help government manage environmental waste, we have created a formula which we tagged “LIPS.” The formula takes care of waste from rural to urban centres. We call it rural/urban line development programme.
People generate wastes and most of the time; you even have to pay to dispose them. And most Nigerians don’t even have the money to pay and so they have to throw some of the wastes into canals, gutters or litter the streets at dusk. So, how can we motivate these people to benefit from the wastes they generate? If families can be made to earn money from their waste, it means we will have a clean, beautiful and safer environment.
The synergy is that as people gather their waste, we will provide recycling machines that will convert the waste to wealth. This is what we call waste-to-wealth derivatives that we are embarking on soon. What we are saying is that there is wealth in wastes which can be converted to cash-flow. We have been on the research for about 10 years.
So, when we litter our environment with garbage, then our health will be impaired and poverty is enhanced. We now thought how we can help people to generate income through their waste. How can we address the problem of climate change? We are about 167 million people in Nigeria today. Wealth is in the hands of the people. If you can help them convert their waste to wealth, it means that Nigeria will be a better place to live. Through waste, we will be creating over 100 million employments through waste. We want to harness and coordinate resources and then organise the people at community level, meaning that the waste you generate will be managed right from your house to your community.
Over the years, we have researched that waste dumps contribute to global warming and consequently what we call climate change. Multiple wastes are more dangerous than vehicular emission.
The formula LIPS takes care of all these. We have looked for a way to commercialise the pains of climate change challenge to cash-flow gains. Meaning, when a family goes to the bank, and he has N200 balance to withdraw N500, through the waste capital that we are trying to promote, in collaboration with the Nigerian National Insurance Commission (NICON) and other insurance companies in Nigeria, the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSC), banks, ministries of environment at all levels, and related agencies to see how we can reduce government spending, we can create what we call waste capital so that people can go to banks and even get loans through their waste.
How do you intend to do this?
Well it’s our own technical plan which we won’t reveal now till during the stakeholders’ summit we are planning to hold.
Who are the “we” you’ve been talking about?
We have a company that we call Project Fix Nigeria consulting (PFN). We are into marketing research and development programme. As a corporate body, we would be looking at organising a seminar that will involve our identified market code, with our collaborators including NICON. They are to warehouse the resources that will be coming out of the waste-to-wealth project.
The stakeholders’ forum we are organising will either take place in Lagos or Ibadan. All the CEOs of insurance firms, brokers, banks, Nigeria stock markets, the 36 state governors, ministries of environment at the three tiers, waste management boards at federal, state and local government. Local government chairmen from the 477 local government areas will be in attendance so that we can unfold the business plan. It’s a programme we have been planning for the past 10 years. A minimum of N3.6 trillion can be generated in a year through waste and plugged into the economy.
Today, Nigeria’s budget is a paltry N4.7 trillion. It is a budget of poverty renewal. If we engage Nigerians of over 167 million people, who generate waste daily, wealth will be generated and flood disaster will be mitigated. The Nigerian government at all levels and the corporate bodies, in this 2012, should join us to create the waste capital sector.
What are the waste items that you think are recyclable?
The only waste item you cannot probably recycle is fine sand. It goes back to the soil and does not constitute waste. Every other waste product can be leveraged. From town to town in Nigeria, you find broken and abandoned vehicles on our highways, these wastes are recyclable. By the time our programme starts, owners of these items will scramble for them. Tyre wastes, plastic, glasses, rubbers, iron, coppers etc are all recyclable. There is no waste in waste. Our waste-to-wealth derivatives will take care of them all.
Do you think the Nigerian environment is ripe for this unique plan of yours?
Very well. Who is government in the first instance? Most of the time we keep saying the government should create an enabling environment. The people are the government. Whatever they want done will be done. When people see that this is an opportunity for them to create wealth for themselves, they will definitely embrace it. This is a people and community ownership project. The government itself does not want its environment littered. When you avail the people the opportunity to create wealth, the society will be at peace. People need empowerment and that is why during elections, politicians dole out money and people collect it to sell their votes.
If people can stay in their community and generate income there, it means security is guaranteed within that community. Once over 100 people are empowered, they will be busy. Wastes from newspapers, snacks, sachet water, etc will become sources of wealth. Through this project, over 100 million Nigerians will have access to savings accounts with banks because the unbanked money is more than what we have in banks. We call it commercialising climate change challenge to cash-flow gains.
When is the seminar coming up and where?
We will be partnering with media outfits like the Nigerian Tribune. Your paper does a lot of reporting at communal level, especially at reporting the environment. The summit may be held first in Ibadan or Lagos. There, we will let out the business plan on how Nigerians can gain between N3.6 trillion annually. We will look at how banks, insurance companies and the stock exchange increase their patronage through our waste-to-wealth derivatives. Through this, they will have access to over 100 million people daily, investing in them. So, for the first time, we are opening our economy through what we call ‘waste capital sector.’ This will be a good news for Nigerians that for the first time, in the history of Africa, we are also giving something to the world.
At federal, state and local government levels, we have ministries of environment and agencies, yet the environmental situation seems not improving. Have you met with them to avail them of your onerous ideas?
In 2005, I paid a visit to the general manager of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and the Lagos State Ministry of Environment. We sold some of our hard-earned ideas to them. We told them Lagos could be turned around for good. We had about three presentations. Suddenly later, we saw them planting flowers and gardens without a recourse to we that made the proposal in the first instance. You see, people in government always think that they know everything, and that is why Nigeria is where it is today.
You cannot run a show behind the person who gave you the research and development analysis. If they have done the research, you must carry them along. But in Nigeria, people in government believe that they know everything. They need to open their doors to other stakeholders.
But they forget that everybody cannot be appointed into government. They need to open their door and welcome fresh ideas. That is the law of leveraging. In Nigeria, this law is hardly applied. The man at the helms of affairs believes that he knows everything. We sold the idea of recycling of waste in 2005 to the Lagos government, at LAWMA headquarters in Ijora, but when they started the implementation, they never called or looked for us again. When you expend your money going from one agency to another only for them to steal your intellectual property, you cannot but be encouraged. When you visit them, they behave as if they are doing you a favour.
Page 42 of 65