Okwe Obi, Abuja
Disturbed by the perennial scarcity of water in some parts of the country, the Federal Government has declared a state of emergency to scale up the availability of water through the implementation of action plan.
The government also said that one of such was to partner with well-meaning organisations to ensure that the sector got considerable help.
Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, stated this, in Abuja, on Tuesday, at the first international conference on Nigeria Water Supply Association (NWSA) with the theme ‘Transforming Urban Water Supply Sanitation Utilities into Financially Viable Entities.’
Adamu admitted that though there had been urban migration but that would not deter the government from its primary responsibility.
He also noted that the “Pathway to be taken to accomplish utility transformation is rough as it cuts through difficult terrains of institutional reform, organisational strengthening, infrastructural development and injection of innovations and proactive response to climate change.”
The minister expressed optimism that the conference would “bring out workable recommendations that will further strengthen our resolve and fast track government efforts and others relevant stakeholders so that collectively, the desire to provide sustainable water services to growing population in Africa will be realized.”
In his response, National President of NWSA, Dr. Eugene Pam, assured Nigerians that the conference would explore opportunities for repositioning the sector for sustainable future, given the calibre of experts present.
Pam added that “the conference will explore the opportunities for state water utilities to explore the different commercial financing opportunities available for investment infrastructural project s in the states.”
In conclusion, he stressed that “Stakeholders will dissect access to commercial finance directly by water and sanitation service provide the capital markets, project finance, public-private partnership (PPPs), or microfinance institutions.”