Friday, 22nd September 2023

USAID plans $45m Lagos urban WASH scheme

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
10 April 2023   |   3:06 am
To ensure potable and safe water supply, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched an intervention programme in Lagos, which will promote operational reforms, infrastructure improvements and institutional capacity building.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Washington DC Short-Term Technical Assistant to Nigeria, Maria Lazarte (left); Chairman, Lagos State Transformation Committee for Water Sector/Commissioner, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Olulere Odusote and USAID Nigeria WASH team lead, Dr. Joachim Ezeji during the visit of the delegation to Lagos State government, recently

• Picks CHEMONICS as project contractor

To ensure potable and safe water supply, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched an intervention programme in Lagos, which will promote operational reforms, infrastructure improvements and institutional capacity building.

Known as Lagos Urban Water, Sanitation and Health (LUWASH), the project would focus on improving the financial and technical capabilities, as well as governance of the WASH sector. This will include but is not limited to utilities, private sector providers and institutions tasked with monitoring and enforcement of regulations.
It will also expand and improve urban water and sanitation service delivery to the large number of unserved and underserved households residing in Lagos, as well as in the WASH sector. At least 4,000,000 people in low-income communities will have access to improved water and sanitation services.
The programme, estimated to gulp $45 million, would work closely with the Lagos State government to address the enormous need for urban WASH services.    
The Guardian gathered that LUWASH would enable service providers to raise the quality of services for their customers; facilitate services-driven economic performance; improve state finances by increasing cost recovery; and increase the sector’s capacity to sustainably serve all customers.
USAID, through the scheme, is targeting improved performance and regulation of water vendors, which would result in improved consistency and reliability of the delivery of potable water, as well as reduced non-revenue water (especially the billing and commercial side) by at least 50 per cent.
It also wants at least $22 million to be mobilised from long-term Nigerian institutional capital (such as pension funds) to increase private sector investment and unlock local currency financing for WASH sector development.
The interventions will include, design and operationalising a $22 million rehabilitation fund that will be utilised for key rehabilitation of WASH infrastructure, metering, customer enumeration, developing and other necessary activities to improve the sustainability of the public utilities.
The fund will support rehabilitation of some critical infrastructure to improve the availability and access of water and services in low-income communities, rehabilitate existing systems and install local maintenance capacity to increase infrastructure durability.
Under an activity tagged Grant Under Contract (GUC), the project would establish a capacity building, research and advocacy fund (CAREVO fund), which will provide grants up to a total of $5 million to Community Based Organisations (CBOs). These grants will help to improve the sustainability of CBO operations, enhance opportunities for growth, and enable them to reach more households with safely managed WASH services.
Specifically, the programme would clarify roles and responsibilities of key sector institutions, provide new or revised standards and guidelines for WASH, increased access to WASH in the state, strengthen coordination of WASH actors, license, design and implement regulatory framework, strengthened capacity of key relevant sector institutions, as well as improved capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in monitoring and advocating for improved, more equitable WASH services.
Similarly, it will also initiate and/or test pilot options for private sector participation, improve reliability and quality of bulk water supply to supported small towns, increase management autonomy of the Lagos Water Utilities and ensure water service providers have increased revenue from water user fees, as well as ensure viable business models for decentralized Water and sanitation service delivery developed with private sector.
MEANWHILE, USAID has named CHEMONICs as a contractor for the improvement of water supply, governance and regulatory framework in Lagos State.
The USAID Nigeria WASH team lead, Dr. Joachim Ezeji, made the disclosure during a visit to the Lagos Water Corporation, Managing Director/CEO, Muminu Badmus during revitalisation of the safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Ijora, Lagos.  In 2021, USAID and the Lagos State Government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve access to safe WASH services.
While enumerating the objectives of the project, the Ezeji stated that the project would improve water services in Lagos, revamp water infrastructure, transform the corporation and provide governance regulation.
Ezeji added that Lagos has all ingredients to succeed, as there is presence of Manpower, Resourceful administration and political will, amongst others. He, however, sought everyone’s cooperation as far as success is concerned. “USAID is ready to give direction through a capable and committed team,” he added.
Muminu said that the project would improve access to potable water supply in the state, adding that its great pleasure working with the USAID team for determined success of the project, as availability of water supply is key.
“We need to look for benefits and values from this project, as many people are expected to enjoy from improved service delivery” The corporation and USAID also visited the Traditional rulers of Otto and Otumara Communities, Ebute Metta of Lagos Mainland of the state to seek their support towards the commencement and realisation of the programme.
The Oloto of Otto and Lagos Mainland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abisoye Odesanya Okeyide (Olupejobi II), represented by the High Chief Jubril Aro,  Baale Otumara, Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye and entire residents were in joyous mood to receive the delegation to their communities.

Ezeji urged the traditional rulers to help in the area of sensitisation and enlightenment of residents of the areas to ensure cooperation and support for the programme.

Badmus, represented by LWC Deputy Director Distribution, Department, Saheed Olatunji, an engineer, further stressed that the partnership is aimed at improving water supply in the communities, Lagos in general, as the project would be sponsored by USAID, in partnership with the Lagos State government to improve on the quality of life of Lagos residents.

The Oloto of Otto and Lagos Mainland, through his spokesperson, Jubril Aro expressed delight about the project and thanked Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration for his commitment towards improving water supply in the state.


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