There is a high level of excitement in the waste management arena in Nigeria today. Most people see it as an opportunity to make quick money, but the astute business person sees it as a long term opportunity that pays over a life time. One of the companies we met with had a business plan that was similar to ours, the challenge they had was how to guarantee collection. Another had agreements but faced challenges securing financing. They had been at it for 5 years, secured agreements, land and now just at the final step is having a difficult time raising money to start the project. The banks seem to lack the long term outlook and they charge 25% interest on projects that can’t support a 10% interest rate.
The people who came before us sold waste management as waste to wealth. We need to change the way people think about the business before we can change the minds of the population that we intend to serve.
On a very positive note with met with Konsadem Associates in Ibadan. We were hosted by the MD Engineer Bola Olowe in Ibadan. He is the 2nd MD in the company’s history. We met the founder of the firm, who at 83 still come to the office daily. Can you believe that he has been coming to work every day since 1974?
We took a trip to Kaduna and visited the KEPA offices and the Landfill on Kaduna Zaria road. We saw a lot of activity at the site. What we observed seems consistent with dumping practices in Nigeria. No plan, no sorting, scavenging and no record keeping. The employees have very little resources to do the job. We did not observe any type of equipment at the site. The dump trucks dumped where they could find space. The waste composition is largely organic material that can serve as fuel.
We will post more updates of our September 18 to October 4 trip.