By Bashir Bello, Kaduna
Worried that about 71 million people across Nigeria lack access to potable water and it its reaffirmed bid at ensuring that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is achieved, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has vowed to step up its momentum in Nigeria.
Regional Manager, Regional Hub of the Bank, Mr. Mayero Nyang expressed this in a speech at the commissioning of the Zaria Water Project in Kaduna State which was commissioned by President Muhammad Buhari at the weekend, where Mr. Mayoro said the bank has so far, approved $1.12 billion dollars for various development projects across Nigeria.
“It is in line with this momentum that the Bank has recently upgraded the Country Gateway Office of Abuja to a Regional Hub covering eight African countries including Nigeria.
“Indeed, since Nigeria joined the Islamic Development Bank Group in 2005, the partnership between the country and IsDB has waxed stronger with the IsDB Bank Group’s approval of over $1.12 billion for various developmental projects across the country.
“Currently, in addition to the two water supply projects in Kaduna State ($81million) and Osun State ($65million) in Nigeria, the bank is implementing various Agricultural, Health, Education projects in Kaduna, Jigawa and Kano States as well as the planned National Malaria Project and the Abakaliki Road in Ebonyi State,” he informed.
He lauded the African Development Bank for its role played in the completion of the Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project in Kaduna State.
“As we are here today to mark the commissioning of the Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project, may I use this opportunity to thank the partners that have cooperated and contributed in implementing this landmark project which components include the construction of New Galma Dam, 150 million litres per day Water Treatment Plant, laying of 350 km of distribution network, 73 km of new transmission mains, construction and rehabilitation of booster stations and 10 service reservoirs and elevated tanks of 40 million litres capacity.
“IsDB is therefore particularly glad that the Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project has indeed contributed to the great efforts bye the country towards the attainment of the SDGs and delighted that the project is coming at a time when the Federal Government has declared a State of Emergency on the Water supply and Sanitation sector.
“This is particularly important where in Nigeria about 71 million people continue to live without access to improved potable water supply, while 130 million people do not have access to adequate sanitation,” he added.
He described the Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project as a complete success story as it has relieved the hardship faced by the poor citizens over 30 years including women, children and physically challenged.
“The project now provides access to safe drinking water and sanitation to more than 2 million people.
“The timely completion of the project and the efficiency in use of funds show good example of service delivery by the management and Staff of Kaduna State, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the Federal Ministry of Finance,” he said.
He assured that to further consolidate on the project’s objectives, the Bank has concurred with the recommendation of the State Government to use part of the project savings ($13 million) to extend the water supply system to benefit additional communities.
“The Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project will contribute to improving the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector that will have Significant Implications for Poverty Reduction and Human Development outcomes for Kaduna State,” it stressed.
The Bank also advocated for the sustained partnership on this resounding success achieved by the Kaduna State Government through the effective implementation of operation, management and regulatory strategies to achieve efficient cost-recovery and affordability objectives by adopting appropriate tariff regimes and performance-based approaches for continuous water service reliability.
President Muhammad Buhari and Governor Nasir el-Rufai in their separate remarks at the event, lauded development partners like the IsDB and the AFDB for their support in ensuring the completion of the water scheme.