Daily Trust (Abuja)

25 September 2003

Nigeria: World Bank Pledges $110m to Urban Water Supply

The World Bank has pledged $110 million to the urban water supply programme in Nigeria.

This commitment which was revealed by a World Bank delegation led by the bank's sector manager on water and urban development for central and western Africa, Ms Enger Andersen, which paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Mukhtar Shehu Shagari, would give a large degree of control to the states in the spirit of decentralisation.

Describing the project as a larger World Bank re-engagement in the water sector, Ms Andersen linked it with the resolve to help Nigeria achieve the millennium development goal "which is a tough task for everyone, a tough task for Africa.

"Without Nigeria and Ethiopia and some of the other large countries moving in this direction, it is very clear that Africa will be left behind," she said.

Andersen expressed satisfaction with the Nigerian government on the level of commitment to water provision to the people, prudent management of scarce water resources and the Lagos urban water programme.

She also noted President Obasanjo's concern over the Niger Basin and pledged more feasibility studies of the request for possible action by the World Bank.

Responding, Alhaji Mukhtari Shagari advised the World Bank to also give priority to rural water schemes as 60 per cent of Nigerians are rural dwellers.

He also sought the intervention of the bank on the water problem caused by the receding Lake Chad while pledging that all funds committed to water projects in Nigeria would be judiciously utilised.

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