Foreign firms eye LWMC contract

Punjab’s leadership change complicates situation with lower local budget

Afzal Talib March 02, 2024



T h e L a h o r e Wa s t e Management Company (LWMC) finds itself at a crossroads as foreign companies express interest in securing its contract once again, awaiting the formation of the new federal government. The LWMC, with an an nual budget of Rs15 billion, is now under scrutiny as foreign entities seek to take over its operations, potentially doubling the expenditure to over Rs28 billion. With ample resources and manpower, the LWMC has the capability to tackle the city’s sanitation challenges through effective business strategies and sanitation initiatives.

The impending decision poses a significant test for the newly appointed Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who must weigh the options between maintaining operations within a constrained budget or outsourcing to foreign firms at a significantly higher cost. Responsibilities for cleaning, garbage collection, and disposal in Lahore city fall under LWMC’s purview. Previously, during the PML-N regime in 2003-2004, these tasks were managed by the Metropolitan Corporation with an annual budget of Rs2.5 billion. However, contracts awarded to foreign companies resulted in escalating costs, reaching over 15 billion rupees.

Despite the LWMC’s efforts, which included taking loans from the Punjab government to sustain operations, the company’s debt has surpassed Rs100 billion. Plans to impose garbage taxes for revenue generation were stalled by the Punjab government’s lack of approval. While LWMC has made strides in improving sanitation independently after terminating contracts
with foreign companies, challenges persist. The company now primarily handles garbage collection across the city, with secondary collection outsourced. Although the sanitation system has shown signs of improvement, further enhancements are warranted.

C i t i z e n s , i n c l u d i n g Muhammad Naseem, Muhammad Akbar, and Farhan Mehmood, acknowledge the city’s sanitation improvements but advocate for continued efforts to execute LWMC’s business plan effectively. CEO Sahib Din Babar affirmed the commitment to Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s vision of transforming Lahore into a model city for cleanliness. He highlighted LWMC’s success in enhancing cleaning operations and reducing expenses since terminating contracts with foreign firms.

Babar outlined LWMC’s strategies to achieve financial sustainability, including securing cleaning contracts with private entities and cracking down on littering. Plans to extend LWMC’s services internationally are also underway, aimed at bolstering revenue and ensuring the company’s self-sufficiency. The PTI government, upon coming to power, terminated the contracts of foreign companies Albarak and Uzbek, which were hired to manage cleanliness and waste disposal at a rate of $19 per ton.


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