By Funmi Olasupo
AS part of efforts to boost water supply and improve sanitation in the country, the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), French Development Agency (FDA), and Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), have pledged to support Nigeria with a new financial commitment. of $638million.
The Country Directors of the donor agencies announced the new financial commitment in Abuja during a two-day workshop on: “Strengthening the Implementation of Urban Water Sector Reform in Nigeria.”
The World Bank Country Director, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly disclosed that the bank had provided a support bank financing of $250 million for the third phase of water sector reform in Bauchi, Rivers, Ekiti, and Cross River state.
She said the lack of access to water and sanitation in Nigeria was not acceptable, adding that women spend months looking for safe drinking water. She called for increase water coverage in the rural parts of the country.
The Deputy Country Director AfDB, Mrs. Babara Barungi said the bank was providing a finance facility of $205million to boost water supply and sanitation in Rivers State. According to her, the bank has since 1986, invested $760million in the sector. She called for improved financial management in states where the projects are located.
The French Development Agency AFD, Country Director, Hubert Dogin said the agency will assist Ogun State with $33million in its urban water reform project. He said the funds will assist the World Bank investment in its third phase programme to increase access to water, sanitation. On its part, the JICA Country Director, Seki Tetsuo said the Agency is approving $150million on development of water facilities.
He said JICA was working towards building capacities of State Water Board Agencies to improve the provision of utilities to consumers.
Responding,, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe said that despite the intervention of the donor agencies, the states were not doing well in implementing the urban water sector reform. She urged governors of benefiting states to give support and create enabling environment for the project to thrive.
Ochekpe said: “We are now close to ten years into the implementation and none of the five project states have achieved the much envisaged sustainability status in terms of appropriate institutional frame work, financial viability, and reliable service to customers. “This is a cause for concerns that beckons for urgent need for robust and appropriate actions and synergies that would turn around the situation.