The World Bank in Nigeria will invest about $800 million in water supply in the country in 2014, according to Hassan Kida, the Head, Water and Sanitation Programme of the bank.
Kida who told newsmen in Abuja that projects worth $400 million were already ongoing, stated that another project worth $350 million was at the design stage while a capacity building programme for rural dwellers that would cost $50 million was also in the offing.
“As a whole, World Bank investment in water supply as at now stands at about $800 million. There is $400 million which is ongoing; then another $350 million which we are designing.
“We are planning for a capacity building development for rural dwellers that is about $50 million; so tentatively, we are injecting about $800 million.”
Kida underscored the importance of capacity building, to ensure that water utilities were adequately maintained.
According to him, the bank has executed a lot of water projects in the 36 states of the federation, adding that states which had performed well and were proactive were selected to benefit in the projects.
The states included Rivers, Bauchi, Ekiti, Lagos, Cross River, and Kaduna, among others.
Kida said that among the criteria used in the selection of the states was the performance improvement system, following the assessment of the performance of water utilities.
“This is done in terms of delivery of water supply to the entire population; there are some measurable criteria which we have and they are aware of it.
“We have given them certain measures like for the year 2013; we look at what they have done, their budget and how much have been used out of that budget.
“Also, how much has been used for capital projects, the impact of the capital budget on the population to determine the number of people with increased access to water,” Kida said.
The official further explained that the major challenge of water utilities in Nigeria was the lack of independence.
“We are talking of sustainability — to deliver what is supposed to be done, independence of utilities is necessary; capacity is another challenge because of inadequate manpower.
“The third one is political; constant change in government and lack of continuity of programmes results in a lot of setbacks in the development and sustainability of the utilities,’’ he said.