Water operators list challenges to Nigeria’s SDG target 


If the nation must meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) SDG target of providing potable water for all Nigerians by the year 2030, the governments at all levels must stop toying with matters pertaining to water supply, sanitation and the welfare of those who are providing these services.
  
This was the declaration of the Nigerian Water Supply Association (NWSA) National Executive Committee that met recently in Abuja o with aim to review the progress of the NWSA for the first part of the year 2017. The NWSA is the umbrella association of all persons working in urban water and sanitation utilities across the 36 states of Nigeria. 
   
The association is organised around the six geo-political regions of Nigeria, with a National President and six vice-Presidents as heads of the regional associations. NWSA is organised with the mandate to promote capacity development, inter-state cooperation and advocacy for improving urban water and sanitation services in Nigeria.

After reviewing   the state of water supply and sanitation in the country, the association expressed disappointment that significant improvement still eludes the urban water utilities in Nigeria, despite several on-going initiatives at both the Federal and State Government levels. 
   
Reports from zones across the country, show that only few cities in Nigeria can boast of enjoying public water services for a maximum of six hours daily, due to inadequate funding for procurement of necessary inputs such as water treatment chemicals and diesels to power the plants, and lack of stable electricity supply with adequate voltage to power the water works,
 
Other challenges include blanket ban on employment by governments, which deprives the Water Agencies of the much-needed technical manpower to replace the old hands who are fast retiring from service, massive destruction of water distribution network arising from road construction projects cutting across many states.
   
NWSA also found out that in some states, the structure of some ministries, is such that the functions of the water ministry are usurped by other ‘competing’ sectors thereby rendering it ineffective for service provision.

It also noted that the inadequate empowerment of Ministry for Water Resources, which should take the lead in water governance and superintend over the provision of potable water for the populace as well as lack of clearly defined policy and law on water supply and sanitation in many states of the federation are challenges to the sector.
   
It noted that the scenario is worsened by a backlog of unpaid salaries in some states, which demoralises the workers and further deteriorating of service quality across the country. Some utility staff are being owed salaries running to over 12 months arrears.
   
A major highlight of the meeting is the presentation by the Chief of Party of the WASH Coordination Project (WCP), Mr. Timeyin Uwejamomere, on the USAID funded project, being implemented by Development Innovations Group (DIG) in the states of Bauchi and Kaduna over a period of 24 months.

WCP plans to improve WASH programming based on data and information gathering, sustain the momentum established under the USAID Nigeria SUSWSA activity until a new comprehensive USAID programme is in place; and provide support to a new reform-minded States governments for the immediate term until full programmes.
 
The forum, according to Mr. Dubagari Abisabo, President of the NWSA invested the National Executives Committee of the Network of Women Professionals in Water (NWPW) with. The network, which will operate under the existing structure of NWSA, derives its membership from the registered female members of the association in the public sector and in the water industry. The interim Executives of the network of women professionals in water is led Mrs. Cordelia Agbo, the Legal Adviser at the Enugu State Water Corporation as the National Coordinator
 
At the end of the meeting the NWSA and DIG agreed to collaborate towards the creation of a Community of Practice (CoP), to promote learning and knowledge exchange amongst water and sanitation professionals across the 36 states of Nigeria to improve staff competences for service delivery and for the benefit of the country.
 



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