The World Bank has approved a credit of $250 million from the International Development Association (IDA) to aid Nigerian government is efforts at increasing access to water supply services and to improve the financial and management viability of existing water utilities.
The funds will target the poor, urban population living in state capitals and their surroundings, while about two million people will also benefit from it.
It stated that the credit supports the Third National Urban Water Sector Reform Project and responds to the government of Nigeria’s goal of developing more effective mechanisms for social service delivery, particularly water service, as a means to address inequality in income and opportunities.
It also stated that, the funds would help to rehabilitate and build the water delivery infrastructure and institutional systems needed to expand access to water supply services for people in selected cities in Bauchi, Ekiti and Rivers states, noting that a portion of the project was performance-based and would include incentives for improving the performance of the water supply institutions in the three states.
“Today’s project builds on past experience which has shown that building water infrastructure without strengthening the capacity of the institutions responsible for managing water supply to the targeted areas does not lead to sustainable results,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.
She stated that, “we, therefore, hope that the new strategy which puts more emphasis on this integrated approach will contribute to l improve the health and economic well-being of the country’s poorest and more vulnerable particularly women and girls who spend a lot of time fetching water.
According to her, a second project component would provide technical and financial assistance to the state governments and water utilities in Kano, Gombe, Benue, Jigawa, Ondo, Abia, Bayelsa, Anambra, and Plateau states, to help prepare them for large water supply investments that could be financed in the future. She noted that the government’s Federal Ministry of Water Resources, tasked with providing sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to all Nigerians, would also benefit from strengthened capacity to monitor and benchmark the water sector’s performance and accordingly, increased accountability from the States for their performance.
“Women and children in Nigeria spend hours each day carrying water for their family’s use,” said Miguel Vargas-Ramiìrez, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project, noting that “By improving water service delivery, this project will help open up time for the poor to pursue education and income-generating activities, and provide them with a better chance to boost themselves out of poverty.”
“The many activities funded by today’s project will also contribute to improving Nigeria’s progress towards meeting its Millennium Development Goal with respect to access to improved water supply service,” said Hassan Madu Kida, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project.