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FG seeks $700m from World Bank to improve water facilities in states

The Federal government on Thursday said it is currently working with the World Bank to attract $700m water supply facilities for seven states.

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu stated this while briefing journalists at the Presidential Media Chat in Abuja.

He listed states to benefit from the funds to include Katsina, Imo, Plateau, Kaduna, Delta, Bauchi and Ekiti, adding that “they, however, have to compete for the funds.

“We are sourcing for $700 million from the World Bank, it is $700 million that was approved. On how much is going to the states, it is not every state. The states have to compete for the money”

Adamu, who lamented that most states were not cooperating with the Federal Government to improve water and sanitation in their respective states, insisted that benefiting states will have to show “capacity to deploy the resources to benefit from the funds”

“The Federal Government has been building these dams, as bulk water for the state to now construct the water supply facility or the irrigation facility to supply their people. And this is where the states have been failing. Many states have failed to do that.

Adamu chided states for abandoning water projects after they have been commissioned

“A N6 billion water project was commissioned and handed over to the Bayelsa State government because we don’t operate water boards, because the Federal Ministry of Water Resources cannot run a water scheme on a daily basis. So after completion, we handed over to the state government. A year after we went back, it was not in use. It was 13 communities made up of over 120,000 people, the state government locked it. We asked why, they said they can’t afford N3 million a month to provide diesel and pay for staff and chemicals. So what can we do?”

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“And that is why we said the Federal Government is no longer going to be a Father Christmas just doing this project and handing over to them. We have to see their own commitment as well.”

Adamu noted that state can at any point decide that it doesn’t want to take the loan. “And then of course, we have to find another state that may be willing to replace”

Adamu, while speaking on the controversial Water Resources Bill, currently before the National Assembly, said the ministry is working with the lawmakers to ensure its passage.

“The bill was deliberately politicised unnecessarily. This is something that is good for the development of the country. And in any case, 97 percent of the provisions in that bill are already existing in four different laws: Water Resources Act 2004, Nigeria Hydrological Services Act, River Basin Development Authorities Act, and the National Water Resources Institute Act.”

He noted that the first purpose of bringing the bill was to put all the previous laws under one booklet, instead of having four separate laws, just to consolidate them into one statute.

Secondly, “Nigeria, like all other countries in the world has adopted the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management. And that is why today we’re enjoying the category two UNESCO centre of Integrated River Basin Management that is based in Kaduna, it is a centre of excellence, funded by UNESCO to promote integrated River Basin Management and we are getting people from all parts of West Africa region to come and learn about River Basin management there”

He disclosed that powers that were hitherto vested in the minister of Water Resources, are now being devolved to the communities and to stakeholders within the basins.

“And what this means is that whereas on the basis of the Water Resources Act that is existing, I as Minister can determine where any project can be put without any recourse to anybody. Under this new Integrated Water Resources Management concept, we’ll have to go down and talk to the communities involved. We have to have their buy-in, we have to agree so we’ll have to hold town hall meetings, we have to set up catchment management committees, the Integrated Water system management commission that is saddled with that responsibility was set up in 2007”

“This is the organisation that provides licencing, you cannot get a licence to have a power plant without a water licence. That’s what is happening now who is doing that minister waters was through the Integrated Water Management commission. So this law also there is a provision within the bill to strengthen this agency.

All the people that are mining water have to go there to get a water licence and they pay a tariff, it is very it is gazetted by law. But right now, they are operating on the basis of delegated powers of the minister. And what we want is for them to stand alone, which means I can’t withdraw these powers anytime and apply them myself.

Adamu noted that although the bill, was drafted in 2006, the Buhari administration which came in 2015, is implementing it, just like other ongoing projects.