Nigeria Needs N6trn To Meet Demands On Water Infrastructure -FG
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has said that Nigeria needs not less than N6trillion to meet the demands for water supply infrastructure in the country.
Adamu said this at the 28th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Water Resources in Abuja, yesterday.
This is as organised labour, civil society organisations (CSOs), and Public Service International (PSI), yesterday, rejected federal and state governments’ planned privatisation of potable water supply in the country.
The minster, who noted that major challenges facing the sustainable development of the water sector were funding, poor water governance, obsolete infrastructure, amongst others, said the meeting was an opportunity to discuss developments in the water sector, evaluate issues, address identified challenges and chart a way forward towards resolving contemporary challenges.
Speaking on the theme, “Emerging Financial and Management Challenges for Sustainable Water Infrastructure in Nigeria”, Adamu said a review of water governance, sustainable financing, pricing for water services was being considered.
He said resolutions from the last council meeting saw the need for states to key into the current Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) initiative of the Federal Government.
This, he noted, is being piloted in some states in a performance approach through the provision of separate budget line in the state rural agency of water supply and sanitation agencies.
He added that the World Bank had committed $700million to support Nigeria in its National WASH Action plan towards revitilisation of the sector through the Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply and sanitation Hygiene (SURWASH) programme.
“SURWASH is expected to provide six million people with basic drinking water services and 1.4 million people access to improved sanitation services.
“The programme will deliver improved WASH services to 2,000 schools and healthcare facilities and assist communities to achieve open defecation-free status’’.
Earlier, UNICEF WASH Manager, Mr Oumar Dombouya, said the 2019 National Outcome Routine Mapping of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Service Levels (WASH-NORM), showed that 30per cent of the people in Nigeria (60million people) do not have access to clean water.
He noted that UNICEF had been giving its support to change this narrative through Village Level Operation and Maintenance to improve functionality and sustainability of water facilities across the country.
Dombouya pledged the commitment of the UN body to support durable and cost effective interventions towards making the country meet its SDG target by 2030.
The National Consultant, Public Health and Environment, Dr Edwin Isotu-Edeh, representing the WHO Nigeria Country Representative, said it was worrisome that one in three persons still lack access to basic drinking water globally.
He said there was need to democratise access to WASH services in the county, saying states must emulate what was being done in the federal level to ensure sustainability.
“States can emulate what was being done by the Federal Government, ad all stakeholders ought to put water as a key component of all interventions’’.
Mr Olusade Adesola, who represented the FCT Minister, Dr Mohammed Bello, said provision of clean and safe clean drinking water to FCT residents was top priority of the Federal Government through the FCT Administration.
He listed challenges of population explosion, inadequate funding, amongst others, saying implementable policies were underway to address this need.
“The water sector is faced with old and emerging challenges that has prevented us from emerging our target in this sector, providing infrastructure for regular water supply is very capital intensive.
“While the projected population of the FCT by year 2020 ought to be three million, the actual population as at 2018 and 2019 had risen to six million, this has placed enormous demand and pressure on significant resources to meet the infrastructural need.
“That is why you see new territories, layouts, districts are being opened without the corresponding provision of infrastructural facilities’’.
Adesola said the work was ongoing to complete the greater Abuja Water Supply Project, saying it was a bilateral initiative to enhance water supply to 33 districts in the FCT.
He added that the administration was also carrying out activities to improve access to potable water supply for the FCT residents in partnership with the organised private sector.
However, organised labour, civil society organisations (CSOs), and Public Service International (PSI), yesterday, have rejected federal and state governments’ planned privatisation of potable water supply in the country.
Briefing newsmen in Lagos, National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and PSI, an umbrella body for public service sector unions across the globe rallied Nigerians to oppose the National Water Bill (NWB), claiming that the bill “is anti-people and will make portable inaccessible to most Nigerians.”
At a joint news briefing, they advised Nigerians to take a cue from the privatisation of electricity supply eight years ago but had failed to improve power supply while consumers had been over-burdened with crazy bills for darkness.
Speaking, General Secretary of AUPCTRE, Sikiru Waheed, said the best option was Public, Public Participation (PPP), insisting that “access to safe and adequate water is crucial to the quality of life of the citizenry. Privatisation will price water above the reach of the poor.
“Privatisation will lead to job losses to privatisers who are only interested in maximising profits. Cities that privatised water are now reversing their decisions and reversing the exercise. From Buenos Aires to Manila, Paris and across the globe the story is the same. This is exactly the reason we do not want Nigeria to take that path.”
Waheed lamented that “we have equally observed that some states are still bent on privatising their water resources. Of particular concern is the report we are getting from Lagos, Ekiti, Plateau, Bayelsa and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. We implore governments in Nigeria to develop the political will and swing into action in order to improve water infrastructure for regular water supply to the citizens.
“Also, privatisation should not be seen as the only option for reviving water facilities across the country. Policies makers are, therefore, advised to embrace democratic control of water that is environmentally sustainable and provide decent work as the true representatives of the people.”
Earlier, President of NUEE, Engr. Martine Uzoegwu, among others, contended that the government mantra was that the private sector would provide infrastructure and utilities more effectively and attract investment, declaring that the privatisation of the electricity would address “Grid energy insufficiency and instability, network infrastructure challenges (overloaded transformers and feeders, obsolete equipment, limited network, lack of automation, etc), gas limitation to the generation companies, annual water shortages at the hydro-generation station.
“The government also said privatisation would address metering challenges (huge metering gap of over 6,000,000, estimated billing, poor meter maintenance, etc), operational challenges (long feeders, quality of the workforce, large operational areas, etc), funding challenges (absence of long term ‘patient’ capital (equity/debt) to fund investment, high cost of borrowing, poor history of DisCos, etc), Lack of investment/upgrade of equipment and facilities, lack of diversification to other forms of energy, health, safety, and environmental issues.”
He lamented that eight years after, “Tariffs have been increased three times now and the fourth is imminent. This continues to put additional burdens on Nigerians who do not actually enjoy adequate power supply. The only beneficiaries of this regime are generator importers who continue to have a field day.”
Representative of PSI, Abi Badru, said: “all over the world the issue of access to potable water is a fundamental right that has the backing of PSI and the global group will continue to support Nigerian public sector workers to ensure access to potable water is not priced out of the reach of the common man.”
Similarly, speaking on behalf of the CSOs, representative of CAPPA, Philips Japu, urged Nigerians to join forces to stop both the federal and state governments from privatising water supply, warning that “NWB, is anti-people, anti-poor and will worsen the poverty level across the country. Even the borehole in your houses will be taxed by the government once the National Water Bill sailed through.”
We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.
… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.
Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari
President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.
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