It is my pleasure to address you all at this occasion of the launching of the National Action Plan for Revitalizing the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector of our country.
2. It is gratifying to note the positive efforts being made in the Water Sector towards improving the living standards of our people both in the rural and urban areas. Access to adequate Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene are part of the indices of good health of our people.
3. This Administration places priority on infrastructure development including those of water supply, sanitation and hygiene services towards ensuring a better life for our people. This is being demonstrated through the approval and faithful implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which is our blueprint for infrastructure and economic development.
4. From the inception of this administration, we have demonstrated serious commitment to the development of the Water Sector by preserving the Ministry of Water Resources and subsequently approving the 15-year roadmap developed for the sector.
The transformation being witnessed in the sector since then is highly commendable. I have no doubt that the on-going initiatives including the implementation of the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) in the Ministry will take the water sector to improved performance and supply, thereby meeting the national aspirations as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.
5. Our country is experiencing an increasing rate of urbanization but recent indices for water supply and sanitation access requires that governments at all levels redouble efforts and work towards meeting the nation’s water supply and sanitation needs. Consider these disturbing statistics:
a. Access to piped water services which was 32% in 1990 has declined to 7% in 2015;
b. Access to improved sanitation has also decreased from 38% in 1990 to 29% in 2015;
c. Our country now ranks No 2 in the global rating on Open Defecation as about 25% of our population are practicing open defecation;
d. WASH services at the rural areas are unsustainable as 46% of all water schemes are non-functional; and
e. The share of our spending on WASH sector has been declining from 0.70% of the GDP in 1990 to about 0.27% in 2015 which is far below the 0.70% at the West African regional level.
6. I have been briefed that the National Action Plan for Revitalization of the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector that I will launch shortly has been prepared in collaboration with all the 36 State Governments, FCT and Development Partners through retreats and workshops to provide the framework towards addressing the sector challenges.
7. Let me reiterate that provision of potable water supply, adequate sanitation and hygiene are primarily the responsibilities of State and Local Governments. However, these are not being given the required attention judging from the high prevalence of water-borne diseases that are being reported in different parts of the country. We cannot and will not continue to allow these preventable occurrences to decimate our population.
8. Your Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen, I am aware that our country did not meet the MDG targets for Water Supply and Sanitation that ended in 2015. The SDG targets (6.1 & 6.2) for WASH are even more demanding as they require WASH services to be provided in adequate quantity and quality on premises at affordable prices. This cannot be achieved if we continue with ‘a business as usual’ approach.
9 It is on this premise that I fully endorse the decision taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council in April this year to declare ‘a State of Emergency on our WASH Sector’.
I call on all State Governments to complement this effort by according the sector similar recognition to enable us work together to achieve the SDG targets for WASH by 2030.
Henceforth, Federal Government support to State Governments will be based on their commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan in their respective States and to end open defecation by 2025.
10. On this note, I wish to express my profound gratitude to all our Development Partners and Countries that have been supporting our Water Sector and to call for their continuous support that will enable us to achieve our national aspirations.
11. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my honour and privilege to launch the National Action Plan for Revitalization of the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector of our country.
12. It is also my singular honour to formally declare a ‘State of Emergency on Nigeria’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector’’
13. I thank you all for your attention and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.