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Federal Govt Secures $700m World Bank Loan To Improve Water Supply

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The federal government has disclosed that it has secured a $700 million from the World Bank to improve water supply across the country.

This was made known on Monday by the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, while chatting with the media on the sidelines of the ministry’s inaugural Awards Ceremony of the Rewards and Recognition System in Abuja.

The Minister  Adamu also disclosed that Nigeria needs not less than N6 trillion  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 on Tuesday.

The minster, who noted that major challenges facing the sustainable development of the water sector were funding, poor water governance, obsolete infrastructure amongst others.

He 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.

“We relaunched the water resources policy in 2016. We have been able to generate from the world bank $700m. This money is not going to be spent by the federal government; it is going to the states for them to improve their water supply situation,” the minister said.

Seven states (Imo, Delta, Bauchi, Ekiti, Katsina, Kaduna and Plateau) are expected to be beneficiaries of the first phase of the World Bank loan.

According to him, 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.

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He added that the World Bank had committed 700 million dollars 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’’.

According to Adamu, the federal government’s role is to support state governments, which he said have the lion’s share of the responsibility for water supply.

“What Nigerians need to understand is that the federal government is not responsible for providing water in their taps, that is the responsibility of state governments and that is why we don’t have a Federal Water Board.

“All the incentives like P-WASH (Plan – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Action Plan, declaration of state of emergency by the President are efforts by the Federal Government to push the states to invest more in water.

The Rewards and Recognition System Awards Ceremony was organised to recognise and celebrate the ministry’s employees, who have put in stellar performances at their duty posts.

Adamu expressed confidence that the National Water Resources Bill, currently before the National Assembly, will be passed in 2022.

“It will be passed in 2022. At this point, the budget is the most important thing. The national assembly is already engrossed in dealing with the 2022 budget. I can assure you that after the budget their attention will go back to it and we hope that it will be passed in 2022”, the minister stated.

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He noted that the institution of the Rewards and Recognition Policy in the ministry is a deliberate means of inspiring civil servants to be more efficient.

According to him, the system recognises that staff have other needs aside from monetary ones.

“The intrinsic need for recognition. encouragement, and reward of outstanding performance forms the other pillar on which the rewards policy stands. We need to appreciate those that have helped us. A motivated workforce is an efficient workforce,” he stated.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, expressed regret that civil servants have, for long, not been incentivized and rewarded.

Mustapha, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office, Dr. Habiba Lawal, stated that when workers are rewarded, not just financially, they are motivated to contribute more to organizational goals. He counselled those who miss out on being recognized to rededicate themselves to make the ministry more efficient.

Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, declared that staff welfare is on the priority list of the Civil Service strategy and Implementation Plan (2021-2025).

Yemi-Esan, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office, Ngozi Onwudiwe, said the reward system is vital to the implementation of the strategy, which is aimed at making the service world-class and citizen-focused.

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