Daily Trust (Abuja)

24 January 2013

Nigeria, World Bank to Collaborate More On Water Issues

The World Bank, Nigerian Country Office has pledged to work closely with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) to provide irrigation services as well as enhance Nigerians access to clean and safe water.

Maria Francoise Maria-Nelly, the Country Director of World Bank in Nigeria, said at a meeting with the officials of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources led by the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe yesterday in Abuja that the bank would also work with Nigeria to actualize the reform agenda in the water sector.

Ochekpe thanked the Bank for its support to the Water Sector Reform process and informed the meeting that the Ministry was doing all within its powers to promote synergy among the three tiers of government, and also get the Private Sector involved in Water projects.

She said that Federal Government has been bridging the gap in access to water by repairing the dysfunctional boreholes in the rural areas and getting community ownership of such projects for sustainability.

She said that the ministry had planned a Presidential Summit on Water with the aim of exploring alternative sources of funding for water projects. "Despite the fact that water is a social commodity, we need to look at the economic potentials of the commodity", she said.

She noted that the Federal Government has recorded tremendous in the rehabilitation of dysfunctional boreholes aside from the provision of bulk water to many of the States for treatment, reticulation and distribution, which remained one of the mandates of the Ministry.

According to her, funding has been major constraints in providing potable water to the people, hence the need to explore the sources of funding.

Maria-Nelly urged Nigeria to concentrate on improving access to water and to invest in irrigation.

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