Engr. Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, has said one of the critical challenges facing many urban dwellers in Nigeria and African continent today is the non-availability of sustainable basic services, particularly water supply and sanitation services.
Adamu stated this in Abuja while declaring open the first International Conference of Nigeria Water Supply Association (NWSA), with the theme, “Transforming Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Utilities into Financially Viable Entities.”
The minister said that the conference was strategically planned to generate outcomes that would complement government efforts at improving service delivery in the WASH Sector.
Therefore, he said the mission of the conference was to transform the utilities into financially viable entities that would revitalise urban water supply and sanitation services.
He pointed out that it was well-known fact that the pathway to be taken to accomplish utility transformation was rough, as it cuts through difficult terrains of institutional reform, organisational strengthening, infrastructural development and injection of innovations and proactive response to climate change.
He said it was in recognition of these, that the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources had been supporting Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform since 2004 and the recently approved National WASH Action Plan, including a declaration of State of Emergency for the WASH Sector.
Adamu expressed optimism that the International Conference would bring out workable recommendations that would further strengthen the resolve which would fast-track government efforts, identify specific roles for the community of practice, the private sector and other stakeholders so that collectively, the desire to provide sustainable water services to the growing population in Africa would be realised.
Earlier, Dr Eugene Pam, the National President, Nigerian Water Supply Association, noted that the conference had been designed to address these key issues: The Urban Water and Sanitation Goal 2030, Transforming Waste Supply and Sanitation utilities and preparing Water Supply and Sanitation Utilities for Market Financing.
The highpoint of the conference was the conferment on the Minister of Water Resources, as the Grand Water Patron of the Association and decorating competitively selected states with “Water Man” award.
The states that received the award were Taraba, Enugu, Bauchi, Delta, Kaduna, Lagos and Cross-River states.
The Chairman of the National Water Supply Association informed that the award was to reward performing states as well as encourage others to strive harder towards improved water supply and sanitation for their people.