The Federal Ministry of Water Resources and some development partners in the water sector have launched the national water resources policies for the expanded water supply, sanitation and hygiene (PEWASH), expected to gulp N510 billion.
PEWASH is said to be a multisector collaborative platform that is expected to harness more synergy between the government agencies and international institutions to improve access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene in rural areas in Nigeria.
Launching the programme in Abuja recently, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, said that the initiative was apt, having been well articulated to bridge gaps that may hinder the full realisation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), considering the fact that Nigeria was one of the countries that could not meet up with the millennium development goals (MDGs).
He said: “It is heart warming that such an all embracing initiative has been developed as a means of addressing the challenges being faced in the water supply and sanitation sub-sector, and to prepare a good foundation towards achieving Goal 6 of the SDGs, which is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by the year 2030.”
Osibanjo bemoaned the reported statistics, which show that about 66 million people still lack access to safe water, while 110 million people in Nigeria have poor sanitation, and the alarming death of about 150,000 children under the age of five annually from diarrhoea- related diseases. He said that the government was going to ensure proper implementation of the policies guarantee improvements in these areas.
The minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, said that the PEWASH programme was designed to be a national collaborative instrument between all stakeholders, including the government at all levels, developmental partners, private sector, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations, philanthropists and the beneficiary communities.
It also intends to ensure a smooth sail towards the attainment of the SDGs. Adamu noted that the initiative is expected to run as a 15 year- programme, and that, it is divided into three phases. He said that the first phase, being a preparing stage, will cover the period of 2016-2018; and will be devoted to sustained advocacy, mobilisation and project take-off.
In the same vein, the second phase, which will span from 2019-2025, will be for substantial increase in project delivery, while the third phase, from 2026-2030 will be used to consolidate the programme implementation.
He was hopeful that upon full implementation of the programme, the ministry would have achieved 100 per cent access to improved water supply and zero per cent open defecation in Nigeria. To achieve these, the minister, stated that the ministry was going to further develop strategies and design that will ensure efficient water supply for urban and small towns.