Irrigation, water supply take precedence in N155b water resources budget

Muhammadu Buhari

The Federal Ministry of Water Resources has given priority to irrigation and water supply sector in its 2018 budget of N155 billion, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
NAN also reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had presented the budget to the joint session of the National Assembly for consideration since November 7, 2017.
President Muhammadu Buhari had also on Wednesday signed into law the 2018 budget of N9.12 trillion, after being passed by the National Assembly.
A look at the budget showed that the Zobe Water Supply Project in Katsina State has N1.8 billion toward the completion of the phases 1 and 2.
The Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project, which is aimed at scaling up access to water and sanitation has N1 billion for its execution.
Over N53 billion was, however, budgeted for provision of water supply, rehabilitation of dams, and irrigation projects nationwide.
In their reactions, some stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector opined that full implementation of the budget should be pursued with vigour.
Victor Olaomi, Coordinator, Alliance for Water and Sanitation, an NGO, said it was important for all tiers of government to implement policies and programmes that would improve citizens’ lives.
According to him, the group will set up machinery to monitor the implementation of the budget in the sector.
He said: “We call for the full implementation of the provisions of the 2018 budget in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, this is crucial for development to be felt at all tiers of government.”
Benson Attah, National Coordinator, Society for Water and Sanitation in Nigeria, wondered why the ministry allocated N1 billion to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector in the 2018 budget.
“The 2018 budgetary allocation to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources could be likened to a situation where a parent would just get any playing object for a weeping child in order to engage the child’s attention to enable him/her go about other more important issues.
“In the document prepared by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources on the over view of water, sanitation and hygiene, the ministry claimed that Nigeria requires $2.74 billion annually to achieve 100 per cent access to basic water supply and sanitation services by 2030.
“How then would the Federal Government justify its allocation of one billion naira to PEWASH in the 2018 budget?
‘‘This is grossly low and far away from reality and not to even talk about commitment to improved WASH service delivery.
“NEWSAN hereby call on the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the Federal Government to remedy this gross mistake or gross over sight, government should not forget that this is a contradiction to the earlier provision.”
Attah added that this could not be attainable following the value of the current exchange rate to be over N900 billion.
He said the Federal Government ought not to come up with a defence that the state would contribute the balance.
He buttressed his position with state governments’ failure to honour commitments entered into with their development partners.