The Federal Government says it has successfully completed 533 water projects including 38 irrigation, 458 water supply schemes and 37 dams to boost food production and ensure potable water to citizens.
Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, made this known at the weekly media briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team led by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Thursday.
According to him, the federal government is working on 116 ongoing and abandoned water projects across the country.
He, however, maintained that the federal government would no longer serve as ‘Father Christmas’ in terms of providing water projects to states, saying the federal government maximum commitment to states henceforth would be 30 percent.
Adamu said this decision was arrived at as government discovered that some states were deliberately unwilling to do their parts in maintaining projects sited in their states.
The minister cited the case of Bayelsa where the N6 billion Otuoke water project meant to serve 13 communities of 120,000 people was locked up by the state government, because it claimed it could not afford the N2 or N3 million a month to provide diesel, pay for staff and chemicals.
“I know of two places where the federal government built dam and treatment plant and the states didn’t use them.
“And I know a scheme that we commissioned, worth N6 billion, handed over to the state government because the federal ministry of water resources cannot run a water scheme on a daily basis.
“So after completion, we handed over to the state government. A year after we went back, it was not in use. It was for 13 communities of 120,000 people, the state government locked it.
“We asked why, they said they can’t afford N2 or N3 million a month to provide diesel and pay for staff and chemicals. So what can we do?
“And that is why we said the federal government is no longer going to be a Father Christmas by just doing these projects and handing over to them. We have to see their own commitment as well.
“The state that locked up water project because they could not afford N3 million is Bayelsa state and the project is Otuoke water supply project.”
Adamu also revealed that seven states comprising Bauchi, Delta, Ekiti, Imo, Katsina, Kaduna and Plateau would benefit from the first tier of the World Bank $700 million for specific water projects in their respective states.
According to him, the states will access between 50 or 60 million dollars each after meeting the criteria set by the World Bank.
He said: “Some certain criteria were set by the World Bank and us. And the states had to meet these eligible criteria, and the projects are submitted into tier one and tier two.
“Tier one is for those that will get a substantial amount, maybe 50, 60 million dollars for the urban schemes.
“For the P-WASH (Plan – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Action Plan, is the rural component and it is going to the states, specifically.
“Some are going as grant while some of it is going to some specific projects. And like I said, there are eligible criteria that states ought to have met, and it is not all the 36 states.
“There are conditions attached on which basis that this money is going to be disbursed.
“So the whole thing has not been finalised yet, but what we have is an approval in general from the World Bank specifically for this, there’ll be some realignments here and there and that’s something that we’re going to be working on between our ministry, Ministry of Finance and the World Bank.”
On the National Water Resources Bill currently before the National Assembly, the minister frowned at way and manner misinformation on the bill was deliberately being sent out for selfish and political reasons.
According to him, the federal government has taken a firm decision to regulate the water delivery system, as no data exists to effectively reform the sector.
Adamu said: “Obviously, I have said so much about this bill, people have been deliberately misinformed.
“The bill was deliberately politicised unnecessarily, something that is good for the development of the country. And in any case, 96, 97 percent of the provisions in that bill already exist in four different laws – Water Resources Act 2004, Nigeria Hydrological Services Act, River Basin Development Authorities Act, and the National Water Resources Institute Act.
“We are still working with the National Assembly on this bill. I think probably they were so engrossed with the PIB and the electoral bill, which are of course, serious national priorities, and they were not able to come to talk about it.
“But already, we have done all the things that needed to be done. The issue that was raised, the technical issue about gazetting had been addressed.
“So the bill is still before the National Assembly.’’