FG unveils WASH infrastructure sustainability guidelines

The Federal Government has unveiled a guideline that will allow community members to own and manage water and sanitation facilities sustainably in the country.

Prof. 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 was geared towards promoting sustainability and allowing communities to oversee the management of these facilities within their localities.

According to him, the framework is expected to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, as well as ensure the long-term sustainability of these essential facilities.

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

He said 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 outcomes in terms of service delivery and infrastructure maintenance.

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.

’62 per cent were found to be functional nationwide as at the time of the survey while 38 per cent were broken down.

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

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

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

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

Shinkafi was represented by Dr Nicholas Madu, Director, Water Supply and Support Services at the ministry.

‘Many often breaks down and abandoned as a result of negligence of duty or inability of responsible agencies of government or beneficiary of such facilities to perform their roles as its expected of them.

‘It is now evident that government cannot solve water, sanitation and hygiene problems alone; the ministry recognises the roles and responsibility of all the stakeholders 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.

He said the introduction of the framework marked a significant step towards achieving the goals of the mini
stry in promoting access to clean water and sanitation facilities for all Nigerians.

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.

According to him, the WASHCOM is the backbone for the management and ensuring sustainable use of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and behavior change especially in rural and peri-urban areas of Nigeria.

He said the focus on sustainability of WASH facilities in Nigeria was in line with achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets 6.1 and 6.2 by 2030.

Goodwill messages were delivered by some managing directors of state rural water supply and sanitation agencies.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria