The fall in the value of the naira against the United States dollar is impacting negatively on Nigeria’s water sector, as the Federal Government on Tuesday declared that the development had made it practically difficult for the different arms of government to deliver water schemes in various communities.
According to the government, its inability to provide water schemes in many states is another reason why a large percentage of Nigerians lack access to potable water.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, stated that most of the equipment used in the construction of water projects were usually imported and explained that the cost of these facilities had increased tremendously due to foreign exchange challenges.
Adamu, who spoke at the Water Africa and West Africa Building and Construction Exhibition/Seminar organised by ACE Event Management in Abuja, also noted that over 66 million Nigerians did not have access to safe water, while 110 million were without adequate sanitation.
This, according to him, has dragged on as a result of the instability in the forex market, adding that some couple of years ago the situation was much easier, but the government at that time did not make use of the opportunities at its disposal.
The minister said, “The cost of equipment used in developing water schemes is getting very high due to forex constraints. Some couple of years ago we know how easy it was for government to invest in water schemes. But that is not the situation right now, because about 60 to 70 per cent of water schemes depend on forex, which is why both federal and state governments find it difficult to invest in these schemes.
“This has affected the provision of potable water for our people, which is why many states now rely on treated boreholes for water supply as against the standard water schemes. Today, there is hardly any urban city that has 100 per cent potable water supply. This is why we have to find affordable ways to deliver portable water to our communities and we can only do this by thinking outside the box during seminars like this.”
The Managing Director, ACE Event Management, Mrs. Tracey Nolan-Shaw, said the aim of the exhibition/seminar was to create a two-way flow of information for visitors and participants to help them analyse their sector needs more precisely.