Public Water System
The Federal Government through the Ministry of Water Resources is to access a $400 million loan from the World Bank, in its effort to revitalise the ailing and dilapidated infrastructure in the water sector and map out a way forward in improving water utility.
Speaking at a recent seminar on water agencies’ performance assessment and benchmarking in Nigeria organised by the ministry in collaboration with the Bank in Abuja, the senior water and sanitation specialist of the World Bank, Alexander Danilenko, said the workshop was a baseline process to support the ministry in its drive in water transformation and supply.
He added that the programme would be a continuous one and would be carried on technically by Nigerian experts, adding that the World Bank has no other business with the project apart from the technical and financial support in setting up the project.
Danilenko said it would be a national ownership project owned solely by Nigeria, and expressed hope that the project would be carried on effectively by the monitoring and evaluation unit of the ministry.
His words “Effectively the water coverage during recent years has reduced because of the increase in urbanisation, the increased migration from the rural communities to the urban facilities and urban water utilities and states water boards cannot cope well with such urbanisation.
“So the government decided to take a loan from the World Bank and from other donors to continue that programme. At this stage right now the programme is about $400 million but many donors and other interest groups are supporting the programme so we hope that it would go further.”
“The workshop is to stimulate the participants to understand the baseline of the status of water sector in Nigeria, but information, unfortunately, is decentralised very much in the country.
“However with the standardised tools of performance assessment benchmarking, we would be ready to establish a proper baseline for every element and every utility in the country and then aggregate it to the national level, to the regional level, and to the country level.
“Then we would be able to provide assistance based on facts, based on objective information provided by utilities and verified by our Nigerian experts and then use it for the decision processes in investment and support where needed,” Danilenko added.
Admitting to the slow growth rate of the water sector in the country, the permanent secretary of the ministry, Ambassador Godknows Igali, said the condition of the already-built water infrastructure and distribution networks are deteriorating due to poor management and sometimes neglect.
Putting the overall economic loss in Africa due to lack of access to safe water and basic sanitation at $28.4 billion a year, with Nigeria having the largest share of the loss, Igali maintained that the continuous delay in the sector’s development would only make for a greater loss.
He said to make way for effective performance assessment of the agencies, the ministry has subscribed to the tools of International Network of Water and Sanitation Utilities (IBNET) as a way of moving the country from the state of ‘business-as-usual’ but establish a system of performance driven and accountability for the sector.
He added that the programme would provide significant investments for reform and water supply infrastructure development in all the 36 states and the FCT.