Ondo State Government under the leadership of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN in line with its five points agenda has reiterated its commitment to tackle head-on the problem of water scarcity both in the cities and the rural areas.
Akeredolu stated this yesterday at the 2017 annual review workshop of the Federal Government of Nigeria /Japan International Corporation Agency, JICA assisted rural water supply programme in 10 States of the country, held in Akure.
Represented by the State Head of Service, HoS, Barrister Toyin Akinkuotu, the governor noted that safe drinking water contributes to economic development through improved health and enhanced productivity of the citizens, and thereby affirmed that the process of fund release is ongoing to complete the JICA project in Ondo State.
JICA /FGN assisted rural water supply programme came on board in year 2002 after the Federal Government approached the government of Japan for assistance in water supply and sanitation and therefore through its agency in Nigeria, JICA has invested the total sum of N8.55billion as a grant to the country.
Declaring the workshop opened , the governor stated that the institutional /legal framework for the sector (Water and Sanitation Policy and Sector Law) has been put in place in the State is to create an enabling environment for investors.
His words : ” The Agency Law for creation of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency(RUWASSA) has been passed and assented to by the immediate past administration.
” The process of fund release is ongoing for the immediate completion of counterpart project financed by JICA in the State.
“During the briefing sessions which I had with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in which RUWASSA was one of them, I did promise to release fund for the drilling of the remaining 50 boreholes within the budget year and also directed that the recently passed law be amended with a view to giving RUWASSA the sole prerogative of ground water management, not limited to rural areas and to avoid role conflict with Water Corporation which will concern itself with the management of surface waters”.
The governor however expressed the readiness of the state government to improve and foster the existing relationship between it and foreign donors, especially JICA.
“It is my expectation that at the end of these three days review, you will come up with some recommendations that will help the State government to develop and fashion a water policy that is geared towards alleviating the water problem facing our people “, he added.
The Federal Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu FNSE opined that water supply is a critical success factor in any modern society as the various sectors of the National economy are linked in one way or the other to the performance and achievements of the water sector.
Represented by the Director of Water Supply and Public Private Partnership, PPP, in the ministry, Engr Benson Ajisegiri, Adamu noted that the desire of the FG to approach the Japanese government is aimed at improving service delivery in the water sector.
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON launched a programme on Partnership for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) for the Ministry that is aimed at marshalling all efforts and collaboration to rapidly improve access to safe water in our rural areas as well as improving public sanitation nationwide.
“The ministry is also pushing forward the reform of our Urban Water Sector that is not only aimed at building the institutions that are responsible for urban water supply but also developing the infrastructure that will enhance the delivery of the water services”, he said.
He revealed that from the inception of JICA programme the , Japanese government has invested the total sum of N8.55billion as a grant to the country.
He affirmed that ” these noble, selfless, and practical gestures of the government of Japan to the people of Nigeria have gone a long way in ameliorating the consequences of lack of access to improved water supply of the affected communities of the project States.
The ten benefiting States are Ondo, Kano, Yobe, Bauchi, Katsina, Taraba, Kebbi, Niger, and Enugu.