Waste management contract falls victim to political rifts in Lagos State

Waste management firm Visionscape is reportedly winding down its business in Lagos, as political changes in the state have jeopardized its contract with the government.

Lagos Governor Akinwumi Ambode put the UK-registered firm in charge of managing the state's waste in 2017, sidelining the state-owned Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and its local private partners. The move offended these local stakeholders, who belong to a powerful patronage network controlled by former state governor Bola Tinubu and linked to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Governor Ambode has now lost the backing of his party chiefs over the matter and has been denied the party's nomination for a second term bid in February.

Our analyst in Lagos says city residents were mostly dissatisfied with Visionscape's service, but it continued to operate until Ambode lost political support. The impact since has been visible. Parliament has denounced the firm and called on local waste collectors to return to work. The firm has pulled its cleaners from the streets and its branding facilities have been taken down.

Looking ahead to Nigeria’s looming elections, Visionscape’s fate is another case study of how rifts involving political actors and other local stakeholders can harm investment contracts in Nigeria.