22 May 2017

Nigeria: Govt Seeks Alternative to $15bn Lake Chad Recharge

Abuja — The federal government has hinted of plans for an alternative to recharge the Lake Chad basin through inter basin water transfer from Congo basin.

Relying on available reports, minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, had disclosed in 2016 after a regional summit in Abuja that the Lake Chad basin had lost over 90 per cent of its surface area in the last 30 years and would cost about $15 billion Public Private funding to restore.

But the minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, said during a twitter chat with social media influencers and other Nigerians yesterday that federal government was seeking alternative ways to recharging the Lake Chad Basin.

Responding to questions posed by Nigerians on tweeter using the hashtag: #ASKHMWATERRESOURCES, Adamu said that the project was too expensive to be easily funded.

The minister also hinted that in a bid to seek an alternative and cheaper solution to address the shrinking of the Lake Chad, the Ministry will organise an International Conference before the end of this year.

He said, "Lake Chad shrinking is a direct consequence of the insurgency in the North East because people no longer use the water. We would be organising an International conference before the end of the year to discuss the shrinking of the Lake and the option available to us to restore the basin.

"We don't want to be straight jacketed, maybe the conference will give us a better alternative than the inter basin transfer. After the conference, we will be able to confirm the best, cheaper and more sustainable option.

"The shrinkage is a very serious problem and we can never know what is going to happen along the line. There is also evaporation and desertification as well".

On dam management in Nigeria, Adamu pointed out that the ministry had moved away from previous practices where proper feasibility study was not conducted before dams are cited and constructed.

Many dams in Nigeria, according to him, are outliving their life spans even though they had not been put to proper use, just as he observed that it would be cheaper to construct new dams than to manage some of the old dams that have out lived their life spans.

The minister continued: "We have not been serious about dam safety, protocol and inspection. Henceforth every dam must be properly planned and environmental impact assessment conducted before construction because this has caused a lot of problems.

"Our dams are relatively safe but we must have to be inspecting them. Like every other structure, dams have a life span. We have built many dams but have not put them to proper use.

"Many people say we should dredge the dam but it is very expensive and we also have the problem of where to deposit the silt from the dams after dredging. So, what we need to do is water shed management which is covered in the National Water Resources Law now before the National Assembly. With this law, we can police our water better".

Noting that part of what the ministry was planning was to build the industrial base of Nigeria so that the nation would not be fully dependent on importation for water equipment, he disclosed that a department in the ministry was currently assessing all imported materials.

This, he explained, was to ensure that "we do not procure materials or treatment materials not suitable for our environment".

... Wants Faster Project Implementation From Islamic Bank

Meanwhile, the federal government has urged the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to fast-track the implementation of ongoing projects being funded by the bank in the country.

The Nigerian delegation to the just-ended 42nd annual meeting of the bank stated this during a business meeting with the ISDB Vice-President for Operations and Nigeria's former Minister for Finance, Dr. Mansur Muhtar.

The delegation also called on the bank to conclude preparations and commence the implementation of pending projects approved by it

Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, who led the delegation as representative of the minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, described the meeting as a fruitful one in which the position of the country was explained and mutual understanding reached between both sides.

While expressing appreciation for the support and cooperation Nigeria was receiving from the bank, the permanent secretary reminded the ISDB of the request made by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 that it should harness efforts and resources for the reconstruction and recovery of the North East in collaboration with the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

The Islamic Development Bank has provided loan facilities for a number of on-going projects in some states of the federation, including the construction and equipping of four science secondary schools in Osun State and water supply projects in Zaria and Ilesha, among others.

Nigeria and the Bank are negotiating financing for the construction of the second Niger bridge on the Private Public Partnership (PPP) model.

The delegation sought the extension of intervention by the Bank to include financing for energy and road construction projects under its Private-Public Partnership scheme.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a subsidiary of the bank, is involved in corporate and infrastructure financing for innovation, job creation and access to clean energy, affordable housing, quality education and health care in member-countries through PPP.

It equally engages in financing individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for private sector development, creation of new jobs, access to affordable housing and agribusiness development.

... Earns $296,143 As Dividend

Meanwhile, Nigeria, the fourth largest shareholder in the 57-nation Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDBG), has been allocated the sum of US$296, 143 as dividend from the profit earned by the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) in 2016.

This will, however, be converted into shares.

The document containing the resolutions of the 42nd annual meeting of the board of governors of the bank, which was released to the public, indicates that $16, 083, 362 million worth in shares shall be allocated from the unallocated shares to member-countries as their dividend.

Nigeria's overall shareholding in the IsDB Group is 1.68 per cent, surpassed so far only by the shareholdings of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The least shareholding member of the Bank is Kyrgyz Republic with 643 units, which was classified as 0.00 per cent on the shareholding table of the Jeddah-based financial institution.

The resolutions further indicate that public financial institutions that own shares in ICD would receive dividend payments in cash to the tune of US$1, 564, 000 million, payable within three months from the date of the resolution.

As the 42nd IsDBG ends, African countries have clinched four positions of executive directors of the IsDB and would serve from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020.

Those elected to the Board are Mr. Twesiim Frederic of the Republic of Uganda; Abdoulie Jallow from the Republic of Gambia; Mr. Diao Balde of the Republic of Guinea and the only woman elected to the Board, Mrs. Fouzia Zaaboul of the Kingdom of Jordan.

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