“Women and children in Nigeria spend hours each day carrying water for their family’s use.”
The World Bank has approved a $250 million (about N40 billion) credit facility from the International Development Association, IDA, to help boost access to water supply services among Nigeria’s urban poor.
The facility is also expected to improve the financial and management viability of existing water utilities in the country.
The Bank said the funds would benefit about two million people among the poor, urban population living in the 36 state capitals and their environs.
The credit, the Bank said, would provide support for the Third National Urban Water Sector Reform Project as a response to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s goal of developing more effective mechanisms for social service delivery, particularly water service, as a means to address inequities in income and opportunities.
The fund would equally help 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.
A portion of the project would be performance based and would include incentives for improving the performance of the water supply institutions in the three states.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, said the project builds on past experience showing 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.
“We therefore hope that the new strategy, which puts more emphasis on this integrated approach will contribute to improved 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,” Ms. Marie-Nelly stated.
A second project component, she said, would provide technical and financial assistance to 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.
The Federal Ministry of Water Resources, tasked with providing sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to all Nigerians, is expected to also benefit from strengthened capacity to monitor and benchmark the water sector’s performance and accordingly, increase accountability from the states for their performance.
“Women and children in Nigeria spend hours each day carrying water for their family’s use,” said the World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project, Miguel Vargas-Ramiìrez.
“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,” Mr. Vargas-Ramiìrez said.
“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,” World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project, Hassan Madu Kida, said.
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