From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev has stated that absence of ownership, poor deployment of technology options, lack of viable operations and maintenance system responsible for non-functionality of water and sanitation facilities across the country.

The Minister said this at the unveiling of the Framework for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee (WASHCOM) in Abuja, yesterday.

Prof Utsev said the framework will promote sustainability in the management of the WASH facilities.

He added that the framework is expected to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, as well as ensure the long-term sustainability of the facilities.

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

Utsev, quoting the 2021 WASHNORM report said there are 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.

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“Others are inadequate tariff systems for cost recovery and sparse community participation and accountability”.

Alhaji Shehu Shinkafi, the ministry’s permanent secretary, said recognising the importance of WASH to the people, government at various levels and development partners are 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 the introduction of the framework marked a significant step towards achieving the goals of the ministry in promoting access to clean water and sanitation facilities for all Nigerians.

He said the government will continue to work closely with communities to ensure the successful implementation of this initiative and to further improve water and sanitation services across the country.