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GARBAGE WAR THREATENS SH2.3B WASTE PROJECT

By Vision Reporter

Added 25th February 2009 03:00 AM

A row has erupted between two rival companies over the lucrative garbage collection business in Kampala.

A row has erupted between two rival companies over the lucrative garbage collection business in Kampala.

BY JOHN EREMU AND JAMES KABENGWA

A row has erupted between two rival companies over the lucrative garbage collection business in Kampala.

Great Waste and Recycling Foundation, a newly-registered company has dragged Nabugabo Updeal Joint Venture to the Police over accusations of sabotaging its operations in the city.

Great Waste director Ali Kigongo says his Danish partner, Preben Nielsen, has put on hold the importation of 20 modern garbage trucks over allegations that Nabugabo UpDeal plans to burn them.

Each used truck costs sh60,000, Kigongo says. Preben, who owns a 55% stake in Great Waste, has reportedly also halted the shipment of 2,000 plastic waste bins over the same threats and following persistent theft and vandalism of the bins already deployed in Kampala. Each bin costs $150 (sh292,000), according to Kigongo.

“Our 132 modern-wheeled dustbins imported from Denmark have been confiscated by Nabugabo Updeal and we have reported the matter to the Police, but in vain. Our Danish partner has been scared away,” Kigongo said in a November 5, 2008 letter to the director of the Criminal Investigations Department.

“We have been victims of terror by Nabugabo Updeal Joint Venture and our lives are in danger. Recently, one of our workers was stabbed nearly to death. Nabugabo Updeal are terrorising our business and threatening to kill me. We work in the garbage collection sector with our Danish partner but Nabugabo has denied us space.”

But Nabugabo Updeal managing director Hajji Musa Ssenyondo dismissed the accusations as lacking in substance.

“If someone claims we have beaten them, threatened their life or damaged their garbage skips, that’s criminal and we should be reported to the police,” Senyondo says.

But Kigongo says they have filed several cases with the Kampala Central Police Station (CPS), but that investigations have been slow. The cases filed were registered as SD/19/31/08 for theft; SD73/4/11/08 for assault; SD/95/04/09/08 for theft and malicious damage and SD/55/08/09/08 for life threats.

Senyondo also says his company had exclusive rights to manage garbage collection in the city and is paid directly by KCC. He, however, declined to disclose the contract terms or how much they are paid.

However, Kampala town clerk Ruth Kijjambu dismissed the claims. “We have no contract with any company, although many have expressed interest in managing city garbage. The council decided to put all interested companies on trial,” Kijjambu says.

“Companies can collect garbage from their clients until the council gives further guidelines,” Kijjambu warns.

The private garbage companies charge about sh25,000 a month per client. The licensed companies include Bison Consult International, Aron Waste Limited and Bins Uganda Limited, among others.

Kampala generates about 1,500 tonnes of garbage a day, three quarters (900 tonnes) of which rots uncollected.

Although there are 43 registered garbage collection companies, they can only dispose of 600 tonnes a day.

Kigongo says Preben is also a director in Nord-Ren, a waste management company operating in the Danish cities of Hjorring, Slikerborg and Fredkshawvn. “He has over 100 garbage compactor trucks and was willing to bring in 20 to Uganda, but has suspended the idea following the threats,” Kigongo says.

When contacted, Preben remained guarded about the threats, but confirmed that 2,000 plastic bins in various sizes are ready for shipment and that by the end of the year, at least six trucks will be in the country.

While insisting the number of trucks have been scaled down from 20, Kigongo says the modern trucks shall revolutionise garbage collection in the city. He says each truck has a capacity of 15 tonnes, an equivalent of about 10 Isuzu Elf trucks, the ones commonly used by the other garbage companies in Kampala.

Kigongo says a new compactor truck costs $160,000 (sh312m), while used one costs about $60,000 (sh117m).

Great Waste has finalised a feasibility study for a waste separation project in which DANIDA has picked interest. They intend to supply plastic waste to the recycling companies in Uganda and also to manufacture compost manure from organic waste. They plan to procure their waste disposal area since the main dumping ground in Kitezi is almost full.

KCC’s solid waste engineer, Michael Mudanye, says the problem with private city waste management is lack of co-operation. He says they spend about sh7m daily to collect and dispose of about 500 tonnes of garbage.

GARBAGE WAR THREATENS SH2.3B WASTE PROJECT

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