Tuesday, May 21, 2024

FG unveils guideline for community management of water, sanitation facilities

Mr Utsev emphasised the importance of community involvement in managing water and sanitation infrastructure.

• April 16, 2024
Minister of water resources Joseph Utsev
Minister of water resources Joseph Utsev (Credit: Guardian)

The federal government has unveiled a guideline allowing community members to own and manage water and sanitation facilities sustainably in the country.

Joseph Utsev, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at the inauguration of the Framework for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee (WASHCOM) Formation and Management in Nigeria.

The minister said the gesture would promote sustainability and allow local communities to manage these facilities.

Mr Utsev emphasised the importance of community involvement in the management of water and sanitation infrastructure, highlighting its role in improving access to clean water and sanitation services nationwide.

He said that by entrusting communities with the responsibility of managing these facilities, the government aimed to foster a sense of ownership and accountability, ultimately leading to better service delivery and infrastructure maintenance outcomes.

Mr Utsev, quoting the 2021 WASHNORM report, said there were 2,313,566 water points in Nigeria, with about 60 per cent located in rural areas and 40 per cent in urban areas.

“As of the time of the survey, 62 per cent were found to be functional nationwide, while 38 per cent were broken down.

“The predominant reasons for the non-functionality of WASH systems were the absence of ownership, poor deployment of technology options, and a lack of viable operations and maintenance systems.

“Others are inadequate tariff systems for cost recovery and sparse community participation and accountability,’’ he said.

He said inefficiencies in management and reliance on government or individuals for financing maintenance persisted in providing climate-resilient, adequate, and safe WASH services nationwide.

Shehu Shinkafi, the ministry’s permanent secretary, said that recognising the importance of WASH to the people, the government at various levels and development partners were investing heavily in its provision, especially in rural areas.

Mr Shinkafi was represented by Nicholas Madu, director of water supply and support services at the ministry.

“Many often break down and are abandoned due to negligence of duty or the inability of responsible government agencies or beneficiaries of such facilities to perform their expected roles.

“It is now evident that the government cannot solve water, sanitation and hygiene problems alone; the ministry recognises the stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities, especially in operation and maintenance and its sustainability.

“Therefore, it is required of them to be effectively organised, formed and trained if they are to deliver on their responsibilities,’’ he said.

Mr Shinkafi said the government would continue to work closely with communities to ensure the successful implementation of the initiative and to further improve water and sanitation services across the country.

(NAN)

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