5 July 2018

Liberia: MCC Seeks World Bank's Help to Privatize Garbage Disposal

One of several markets in Paynesville City, where vendors sell food items near piles of uncollected garbage.

As garbage overwhelms Monrovia, Paynesville

The issue of poor sanitation in and around Monrovia remains a serious problem, especially after millions of United States dollars were pumped in by the World Bank to address the situation, but with disappointing results. No progress in sustainable municipal waste management has been achieved thus far.

Monrovia and its immediate environs are engulfed by huge piles of garbage, compelling municipal authorities to seek ways and means to tackle this ever worsening problem that is posing a serious health hazard in many communities.

Huge piles of garbage can be seen across Monrovia and nearby Paynesville, with little or no effort from those charged with the responsibility to ensure that they are regularly removed.

It is against this backdrop that the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) has engaged the World Bank (WB) in an effort to address the looming crisis.

The MCC recently wrote the Bank requesting for technical assistance to develop terms of reference (TOR) and tender documents to privatize sanitation services in Monrovia.

Monrovia Mayor Jefferson Koijee told WB Country Director in his letter that MCC intends to work with the private sector through a public-private partnership venture to provide constant,optimal garbage disposal services that would ensure the city is always kept clean.

Mayor Koijee: "We want to maintain a clean city"

"Our procurement legal framework requires us to hire the services of private sector actors through open tender processes, which is why the MCC needs to first develop a set of requirements and applicable tender documents," the Mayor said in his letter, a copy of which is with this newspaper.

It can be recalled that the WB, a few years ago, invested US$17.60 million in the "Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation Project" for waste management. This was meant to assist the MCC to provide solid waste disposal services and increase the volume of collected and disposed waste from approximately 30 percent of daily generated waste to 45 five percent.

Original project activities with higher than anticipated costs include waste collection and disposal, but additional finance was to assist the government to achieve its strategy to continue delivering a basic service to the population. But the project experienced many glitches and many of its objectives were not accomplished.

At first, Ghanaian-based company, Zoom Lion, was contracted, but the WB terminated the contract of the outfit when it was found guilty of corrupt practices while executing projects funded by the Bank.

The Bank further barred the Ghanaian company for two years after the company was allegedly found guilty of misconduct in implementing the Bank-funded project in Liberia.

The debarment, according to the Bank, means the company was disqualified for any contract financed by the World Bank Group.

These challenges over the years have turned into serious sanitation hurdles for communities, marketeers, motorists and pedestrians, with looming and serious health risks from the unhygienic environments caused by huge piles of uncollected garbage.

MCC and its sister city, Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) are now faced with many daunting challenges ranging from inability to carry out daily removal of garbage, breakdown of contractors' vehicles to the often impassable road leading to the landfill dump site in Wein Town, Mount Barclay.

Authors

William Q. Harmon

Liberia

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