No plans to outsource environmental workers in Kogi, assures Commissioner

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The Kogi state commissioner for environment and Natural Resources, Rosemary Oshikoya has allayed the fears that the state government has no plans to lay off any staff or outsource their job to a private organization.

This was coming on the heel of environmental and health workers union’s threat of industrial dispute with the state government over its plans to engage the services of private licensed sanitary inspectors in the state.

The state government will sign a private partnership agreement next week that will see private investors actively involved in premises inspection across the state.

The union had argued that the involvement of private premises inspectors was never discussed with the Union and so have seen it as an attempt to take over their responsibility and rendered them redundant.

However, the commissioner said it was a misconception on the part of the Union to think that government is out to render them redundant when in actual fact government is involving the private partnership arrangement to train them within a period of time to attain required license that will qualify them for premises inspection as required by relevant environmental laws.

According to her, “it is also not true that the Union were not carried along when taking the decision when the chairman was part of the committee that had been deliberating on the issue.”

Oshikoya said that the New Direction Blueprint clarifies on the role of PPP in delivering on its targets for the sector.

According to her ,the Kogi State waste management Board law 2013 and the PPP law 2014 empowers the state to engage PPP in the sector adding that the PPP process include adequate stakeholder sensitization and engagement which in addition to media engagements including the first ever state convened stakeholder meeting in December 2016.

This she said was followed by meetings with traditional institutions and community stakeholders by federal constituency in 2017.

The commissioner explained that the participation of the private sector in environmental health monitoring (premises inspection) would among other thing Contributes to capacity building and on the job training of EHOs currently in the civil service.

She added that it will Improve residents protection and responsiveness and improve environmental safety and protection for the people through enforcement.

She said that the insinuation that private sector involvement is ‘privatization’ of Kogi State Waste Management Board KGSWMB and also that EHOs currently in the civil service will be rendered redundant is mischievous and unfounded.

“All interested stakeholders are kindly urged to note that the proponents of the ill conceived misinformation do not mean well for the people. The investors or the government are therefore encouraged to see the smoke and persuade such persons to clarify the facts and details with the ministry,” she said.