City Council decides against renewing garbage collection agreement with WAMCO

Male' City Council has decided not to renew its agreement with WAMCO to collect garbage from public places and parks in Male' and Villimale'.

The agreement to clean up public spaces was signed between the City Council and WAMCO on December 26, 2016. In a meeting held Thursday, the Council decided not to renew the agreement when it expires on December 26 this year.

At Thursday's meeting, Deputy Mayor Ahmed Nareesh proposed that the City Council arranges for the garbage collection work to be done by the Council itself instead of renewing the agreement with WAMCO. The motion was passed unanimously by 12 members who voted at the meeting.

At the meeting, Galolhu North council member Mohamed Saif Fathih, who represents the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), suggested that the Council consult with WAMCO before taking a decision on the agreement. Although the motion was seconded by Galolhu West councilor Mariyam Nazima, it could not be passed as the Council's majority voted against it.

Before voting on the matter, the Secretary General of the City Council, Mujuthaba Jaleel, explained the pros and cons of not renewing the WAMCO agreement. He said the Council receives complaints from the public that WAMCO is not disposing of garbage in accordance with the agreement signed with the City Council. No matter how much garbage is on the road, WAMCO only collects trash that is sealed in a certain way, he said.

Mujuthaba said that after the City Council's employees collect garbage when WAMCO employees fail to do so, the City Council's pickups are billed when it goes to the WAMCO site to dispose of the waste. He said WAMCO had sent bills that add up to MVR 45.6 million to the City Council since the current councilors took office, out of which MVR 38.7 million has been paid.

Mujuthaba further said WAMCO has 150 employees collecting garbage in Male' and 30 in Villimale' under the agreement with the City Council. The average salary of the employees is MVR 8,000, he said. If the Council takes over the collection of garbage, the Council will be able to add another 85 employees to its existing 150 in Male and another 15 to Villimale', the Council can offer an average salary of MVR 10,000 for each employee and still make a profit while providing more efficient services, he said. While WAMCO currently uses three vehicles for waste disposal, the Council could use five large pickups or nine small pickups for the work, he added.

The City Council said that while it has decided against renewing the garbage collection agreement with WAMCO, the Council cannot offer services to the desired standard without cooperation from the government.