By Chinonso Alozie
Owerri— Imo State Government, yesterday, said “problems associated with civil service” led to the concessioning of the state water corporation by Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Public Utilities, Mr Obinna Nshirim, spoke when members of Centre for Peace Across Borders, paid him a courtesy visit ahead of this year’s water action month.
He said: “I want to correct the impression that the Imo water board does not exist. Water is one of the essential needs of life, followed by air and heat. Heat is life and it is energy. Deprive a living animal of water or oxygen for four minutes and that animal is gone.
“Any attention given to water is worthwhile. I will also let you know that because of the problems associated with civil service towards provision of social amenities, that is why water is concessioned and the government is there to regulate to avoid over exploitation.
“You will agree with me that government is not good in business. Remember, during the time of NITEL, you have to wait until it is your turn. But with what we have now, with mobile phone you can communicate even from you farm.”
Corroborating, Director, Ministry of Water Service, Mr. Ogunseye Bimbola, said: “Imo Water Corporation is still in place but because of the peculiarity of the environment of Owerri, Okorocha brought in the idea of concession to manage the Otammiri, which is the source. It is under the PPP arrangement and at last there will be a profit sharing arrangement.”
Earlier, leader of the team, Mr. Clinton Ezeigwe, said the purpose of their visit was to know the extent the government of Imo State had gone in managing water in the state, and the amount the government budgeted in 2016 and 2017 to ensure access to safe, reliable and affordable water in the state.
He said: “Luckily, the month of March and April offer unique opportunities to make significant progress towards cross-sector collaboration and achieving access to safe, reliable and affordable water. This year’s water Action month will precede a series of High level meeting in Washington DC in April, which amplifies it’s potential. For making headway towards holding government accountable to promises made with regards to water, sanitation and hygiene.”