December 19, 2013
The government will save $500,000 through a number of measures being initiated by the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS), according to Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett, who yesterday confirmed the reassignment of garbage collection contracts to a variety of private companies.
Dorsett's comments on government initiatives in the area of garbage collection come a day after Guardian Business reported on the re-awarding of contracts previously provided to private companies to collect residential waste.
As a result of the reshuffling which took effect on December 1, BISX-listed Bahamas Waste's share of the residential garbage collection business outsourced by the government was reduced by 37 per cent.
The shift occurred six months after it invested around $500,000 to pick up additional routes that it had been offered by the government.
While company executives remained reluctant to comment on the changes and their impact on the company this week, the company had indicated earlier this year that it was placing significant emphasis on the additional residential contracts as a means of improving its financial picture in the last six months of the fiscal year.
In financial results for the first nine months of 2013 which were released yesterday, Bahamas Waste suffered a 33 percent profit fall, bringing in $521,558 in net income. Those results would not have been affected by the December contract cutbacks.
In a statement, Dorsett said that garbage collection contracts are entered into by the contracted company and the DEHS on a month-to-month basis and are "renewed based on performance and the discretion of the DEHS as per the contract".
"In December 2013 the DEHS did not renew the contract with Bahamas Waste to cover the collections in Fort Charlotte, and even with this adjustment Bahamas Waste still services more routes than any other provider. Additional companies were also contracted at that time to further assist the government with garbage collection," said Dorsett.
The statement did not go into specifics on why some of the contracts held by Bahamas Waste were terminated, while others remained, or which other companies have now been contracted to do the work.
Dorsett said that in 2011 the government had outsourced garbage collection in inner city communities to Bahamas Waste, Impac Waste Disposal Ltd. and United Sanitation Service.
At that time, the house count in those communities was 12,949 and the contracted companies were paid $5.00 per house, a cost which he said has since be reduced to $2.50.
"It was discovered since my taking office that the government was still being billed based on the 12,949 house count when it should have been 8,476 houses based on updated data. This correction affected Bahamas Waste Limited with a loss of 3,938 houses. At that time they were collecting in three areas and have since been contracted for an additional five areas, which makes Bahamas Waste the holder of the largest number of routes outsourced by the government for residential garbage collection.
"The house count oversight was costing the Bahamian people approximately $2 million since 2011. The measures presently being initiated by the DEHS as it pertains to garbage collection will save the people of this country approximately $500,000 a year," said the minister.
Dorsett said that efforts are being made to ensure Bahamian people get "value for money".
"We are currently working to correct more of the issues that we have come across, such as the practice by some companies of mixing commercial and residential waste in an attempt to avoid tipping fees at the New Providence landfill. The ministry is also looking into improvements to the weighbridge at the New Providence landfill to boost government revenue."
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