Tuesday, September 27Inside Business Africa

Nigeria requires $5.7m to provide water, says UNICEF

United Nation Children Economic Fund (UNICEF), has disclosed that Nigeria requires an average of $5.7billion to provide water and sanitation in each local government area of the federation.

The Chief of Party Water Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF, Zaid Jurji, who disclosed this yesterday, during a meeting between Organised Private Sector on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH), and the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, in Abuja, said the investment would cover all costs and other benefits.

Commending Nigeria’s efforts toward ending open defecation in the country, he said current initiatives must tally with increasing population. “We are close to 200 million people and with the increasing population, if every year, there is an increase of services for five million people, it is barely enough; we are competing with natural population increase.He also urged private organisations to coordinate their activities to halt duplication of efforts, promotion of effective implementation and monitoring for the programme success.

Also National Coordinator, OPS-WASH, Dr Nicholas Igwe, noted that the role of private sector in scaling up water and sanitation services in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasised.He called for more commitment from all stakeholders, especially with the provisions of theme of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and how WASH access could promote value chain in job creation.

According to him, the private sector has commenced discussion with the Nigeria Diaspora Commission, to see how one million Diasporas could adopt one toilet each for one household.

Meanwhile Guinness Nigeria, a subsidiary of Diageo Plc, has unveiled a 10-year project of providing clean and portable water for over 10 million people across five states of Edo, Kano, Kebbi, Nasarawa states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).In addition to providing clean potable water in these states, the multinational organisation also promised to support the Federal Government to intensify hand washing culture in public places to halt the spread of Lassa fever.

Society Manager, Guinness Nigeria, Titilola Alabi, said in its current financial regime, “Guinness is committed to establishing five new water schemes in Abuja, Edo, Kano, Kebbi and Nasarawa states. We have chosen the communities in these states carefully following a Needs Assessment and for the benefit of a larger population.

“Currently, our water of life project, created to provide water to under-served communities by solar-powered water systems is providing water to over one million Nigerians. We have 33 of such water schemes across 22 states,” she added.

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, while welcoming the team, pledged government’s commitment to partner with the organised private sector in financing and improving corporate social responsibilities in the fight against open defecation practice in the country.

Adamu said the role of the private sector in the revitalisation of the WASH sector cannot be overlooked, being the engine room for economic growth.He noted that they were the key players when it came to creating innovative structures, which promoted financing of WASH services, expressing worry about lack of water and sanitation in institutions and public places.

The minister said government is targeting a zero open defecation goal by 2025, saying with commitment from all stakeholders, this would be achieved.

According to him, the lack of synergy among development partners’ interventions has led to groundwater depletion largely from unregulated activities.“There is urgent need for sanity in the water resources sector. We need to measure all social impact of current interventions, it’s not just about figures and monies, we need to synergise all efforts for the benefit of all Nigerians,” Adamu said.

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