The Federal Ministry of Water Resources says it has initiated some processes, in partnership with the Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE, for the partial commercialisation of River Basin Development Authorities, RBDAs.
Francis Obiwe, Deputy Director, River Basin Operations in the ministry, told News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday that the processes were part of the blueprint and action plan developed to reposition the river basins.
He said that the processes, which included a feasibility study, were targeted at actualising the goal of making the river basins self-reliant and self-financing.
Debunking reports that the commercialisation plans were delayed because of undue bureaucracy, Mr. Obiwe said that experts had been working assiduously to ascertain the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, potential of the RBDAs and their likely challenges.
He said that the feats of the public-private community partnership, PPCP, involving RBDAs were evident in Shuashi community in Niger, with the cultivation of 1,500 hectares of rice farms, producing about 4,000 tonnes of rice.
He, however, said that the experts had realised that there was inadequate water for expanding the irrigation component of the scheme to cover 7, 500 hectares in the area.
On water supply and irrigation projects, the deputy director said that the RBDAs were managing no fewer than 200 dams for rural water supply and farming purposes.
He said that Ogoja Dam in Cross River, Bakolori Dam, Tiga Dam in Hadejia, Kano State, and Owena Dam in Edo State were all used for irrigation purposes.
Mr. Obiwe said that water from dams could be used for irrigation farming, neighbourhood water supply, industrial purposes and hydro-power generation.
He, however, said it was saddening to note that there were no water supply facilities in most communities except for urban centres.
He underscored the need for a synergy between line water resources agencies and the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing so as to promote the hydro power generation potential of dams across the country.
Speaking on the appointment of new management teams for the river basins, Mr. Obiwe said that the action was aimed at repositioning the RBDAs for effective service delivery.
He said with the new management teams in place, efficient delivery of set goals and objectives of the river basins would be achieved.
He said that the federal government had instructed the management teams to restructure the operations of the RBDAs, with a view to promoting Nigeria’s food security and generating employment for its citizens.