Abuja – The Minister of Water Resources, Malam Suleiman Adamu, has inaugurated a seven-man committee with a mandate to develop a blueprint that will transform the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) in the country.
Inaugurating the committee on Tuesday in Abuja, Adamu said that little or no achievement had been recorded since the river basin authorities were set up in 1976, owing to policy inconsistencies and reversals, among other factors.
· Cue in audio
“The River Basin Development Authorities were established from 1976, but regrettably, have been unable to achieve their full potential due to policy in consistencies and reversals over the years.
“In addition, the RBDAs have witnessed various changes in mission, organisational structure and manpower settings, often without the required legal instruments.
“Accordingly, the RBDAs are challenged and are unable to deliver on their respective mandates over the years.
“A total of 148 dams have been built by the RBDAs nationwide with a combined reservoir capacity of 9.8billion cubic metres for various beneficiary users, but mostly for irrigation and water supply purposes.
“However, only 15 per cent of the 3.1 million hectares of irrigable land is equipped with facilities for all-year-round farming in this country.
“Some other challenges of the RBDAs include funding inadequacy, causing investment gaps, obsolete plant and equipment, operation and maintenance challenges.’’
· Cue out audio
He stressed the need for the river basin authorities to function efficiently after they have undergone the desired transformation.
He said that the ministry had developed a ten-point action plan aimed at strengthening the river basins in a way that they would deliver on their mandate of integrated rural development in the country.
The minister urged the committee members to identify immediate infrastructural and other investment needs that will enable the river basins to deliver on their mandate.
He expressed optimism that the new blueprint will help reposition the 12 RBDAs so as to meet the demands of the new agricultural revolution for the country.
Responding on behalf other members, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Nurudeen Rafindadi, pledged that members will brainstorm on the viable ways to reposition the river basins.
He said that the performance to be recorded in the ministry and in the water sector would be largely due to the activities of the RBDAs.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the other committee members are: Ibrahim Musa, Jimoh Afolayan, Muhammad Hadeija, Tauheed Amusan, Sixtus Abetianbe, and Musa Ibrahim. (NAN)