Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The federal government has said it was aware that between 60 and 70 per cent of water scheme projects in the country relied on foreign exchange to be successfully executed.
It added that based on this, it was becoming difficult for state governments, which have responsibility to provide water to semi-urban areas, to do that effectively.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, stated this while speaking at the opening ceremony of 2016 edition of Water Africa and West Africa building and construction exhibition and seminar held in Abuja recently, with the theme ‘Infrastructure Challenges Facing Nigeria in the 21st Century’, organised by M/S ACE Events Management of the United Kingdom.
The minister lamented what he described as huge percentage of failed water projects across the country, and vowed that the ministry would not allow that to continue.
He noted that “the federal government was aware that 60 to 70 per cent of water scheme projects relied on foreign exchange to be successfully executed and that the situation was why it was becoming difficult for state governments which have responsibility to provide water to semi-urban areas to do so.”
Adamu stressed that it was necessary to have a regulatory framework, which would enable the private sector to take part in developing the water sector; especially in the areas of generation and distribution.
He noted that the country’s industrial sector was suffering as things were not properly planned and managed in the sector. The minister also pointed out that most of the efforts at the ministry were geared towards rejuvenating and redirecting River Basin Authorities (RBAs) to deliver expected goals.
“Plans are on to commercialise the river basins in the country so that they did not depend on government anymore,” he stated.
The minister, who lamented the impact of inefficient power supply, said his ministry was in the process of creating a unit to evaluate equipment being used for water projects, and said it was already working with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to ensure that the country did not become a dumping ground for all sorts of equipment that are not useful for the water sector.
He said steps were being taken to look for where to get more energy-efficient equipment to power water equipment in the country.
According to him, “There is potential for new equipment and I hope this conference can take up the challenge on ways to deliver affordable water. There is huge market for this equipment and I hope some of you will take up the responsibility to establish some of the production lines.”
The managing director of ACE Event Management UK, Tracey Nolan-Shaw said the event was organised to proffer solutions to the challenges facing providers of infrastructure for water and sanitation sector as well as the organisations in the building and construction industry.
Earlier, the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola who was represented by Chike Anikammadu, said efforts were being made to motivate the deployment of modern technology for mass production of housing in all the states of the federation and Abuja, using the traditional procurement platform and the contractor finance initiative model.
He said the vision of the building and construction sector included a well-informed private sector that was committed in every aspect of the deal, describing the sector as one that cannot exist without sustained participation of the non-government development partners and other relevant stakeholders.