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USAID targets six states for $65m water, sanitation grant


Nigeria is blessed with abundant water resources but largely untapped

A new vista of opportunity may soon open for six states in Nigeria, with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) earmarking $65million grants under Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project.

The would-be benefitting states are expected to attain certain criteria for pre-selection process for the 24 months scheme aimed improving their water supply and sustainable sanitation hygiene.

The Development Innovations Group (DIG), which is managing the WASH coordination project, is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR). The purpose of the project is to achieve the dual benefits of improved health and well being for Nigerians through increased and more financially sustainable access to WASH services, and to build the confidence of the public in the government’s ability to deliver basic services.

Consequently, the DIG has presented the proposed framework on how Nigerian states could be engaged in the project and in future USAID WASH programme through a national consultation with relevant stakeholders in Akure, the Ondo-State Capital.

Speaking at a meeting attended by some States’ Commissioners for Water Resources and General Managers of State Water Boards, the USAID Coordinator, Joachim Ezeji said the agency’ had a portfolio of $3billion of WASH annually in Nigeria three years ago, but due to the fact that most states capital could not reach up to 30per cent of the urban population and the challenge of utilities still using obsolete equipment, Nigeria was moved from just a pedestrian country to a transformational country.

He said this led to the increase in the budget for Nigeria to $10million and $15milion yearly for the next ten years in order to work courageously for the sector. “The contractor DIG, Development Innovation Group won the WCP. Part of the data they are going to collect include data that will help to procure a bigger intervention, which will be finally called e-WASH; effective wash and effective utility. So we will have to make sure that the taxpayer’s money is effectively utilized. Each of the six states that would qualify and selected for the project will get $10million each”, he said.

Addressing participants on the proposed process/criteria for selecting state partners for the programme, WASH Chief of Party, Mr. Timeyin Uwejamomere said states risk index, need index, opportunity index, state building block and service improvement index are parts of the proposed criteria for selecting states that would benefit from the project.

According to him, the purpose of the state selection criteria for the WCP project was to provide USAID/Nigeria with information and background work useful to USAID in its design of a Urban WASH programme for Nigeria, sustain the momentum established under the USAID/SUWASA activity until a comprehensive USAID programme is in place and provide support to new reform-minded State Governments.

Specifically, he said that part of the proposed criteria which could be reviewed include states’ ability to demonstrate improve reforms in areas such as water law with provision for corporatization, water and sanitation medium term sector strategy, internally generated revenue improvement strategy, average of water budget expended over the last 4years, identifiable budget line for improved sanitation as well as water sector service charter or citizen-focused budget.

He observed that information on access to improved sanitation in Nigeria is scarce, however he stated that statistics revealed that access to improve sanitation is very low.

“There was a decline in access of 9per cent from 1990 to 2015, in Urban areas, access declined from 38per cent in 1990 to 33per cent in 2015 while only 4-7per cent of the national population have access to a sewerage connection”, he explained.

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