By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja – The Federal Government will vigorously pursue the enhancement of the operations of the River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) in 2020, Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, told newsmen on Saturday in Abuja.
Adamu said that this was imperative in order to support the issue of food security of the Agricultural Policy of the administration towards ensuring adequate food security in the country.
According to him, we are going to work towards addressing the questions of the River Basin Authorities activities in the country.
“A lot of things are going on towards revitalising the River Basins, including the work we are doing with the National Council on Privatisation.
“We have selected four River Basins now, while we are working to see the best way we can commercialise their activities.
“This is in order to enhance their sustainability, so that they will not continue to be too dependent on government subventions and monthly allocations.
“We want them to improve on their internal revenue generation so that they can sustain most of their operations.
“We are also hoping that we will be able to implement the full management procedures so that the River Basins will be spending less on the maintenance of tertiary irrigation systems.
“This is in order for us to hand over some of its responsibility to the farmers to maintain their farms and also to provide them with modern techniques,‘’ he said.
He also noted that in 2020, the ministry was also going to focus on the completion of the inherited 116 abandoned projects in the sector.
According to him, we will continue in that direction to ensure that more projects are commissioned, and some are due to be commissioned anytime from now.
“I want to assure you that we will continue to do more, I do not foresee us commissioning about 116 projects during this tenure.
“But at least based on the priority we have taken we should be able to implement as many as possible and we will continue to maintain our focus on these projects,‘’ he added.
Adamu also noted that the ministry would in 2020 pursue the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” Campaign and implementation of the Executive Order No. 009 by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure Open Defecation-Free Nigeria by 2025.
“This Order mandates the ministry to coordinate all activities towards ensuring an open defecation-free Nigeria by 2025 through the National Clean Nigeria Secretariat, and directs all MDAs to join the Campaign.
“The Order also calls for legislation against open defecation by both Federal and State Legislatures, ‘’ he said.
Adamu also said the ministry would also pursue the implementation of Water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Action Plan and the Partnership for Expanded Water, Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme in 2020.
He added that this would be with particular emphasis on sanitation and hygiene at the Federal level, providing the impetus for the states to also do the needful.