Port Harcourt – The Rivers Government, African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), on Friday inaugurated the Urban Water Sector Reform and Port Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project.
Gov. Nyesom Wike, represented by Mrs Onimim Jacks, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, said at the occasion in Port Harcourt, that the project was very key to his administration.
Wike said the project was in line with his campaign promises to the people of the state, as spelt out in his blueprint to provide safe drinking water.
He said it was a great pleasure for him to inaugurate the project.
“We thank the AfDB and IDA for their continuous funding of the project over the years up until now.
“We assure you that we are ready with our counterpart funding; and this is also another promise we are keeping.”
Wike commended the Federal Government for choosing Rivers as one of the pilot states to be given support by AfDB and IDA.
He said that the state government was willing and ready to cooperate with the Federal Government on projects that would benefit the people.
Dr Ousmane Dore, AfDB Country Director, said the project was a good example of effective partnership between the government of Nigeria and the donor community.
Dore said that the project would be funded by the AfDB, Rivers Government, World Bank and the Federal Government.
He urged other partners and the implementing agency to ensure that the project was executed in time to benefit the people of the affected local government areas.
“I assure you that the AfDB has the capacity to provide the needed support in collaboration with the IDA.”
Dore urged the state government to ensure that consideration for local content did not compromise the bidding process by ignoring relevant procurement laws.
In his remark, Chief Ibibia Walter, the state Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural development, said that the benefits of the project were enormous.
Walter said that the project would be completed within two years by which time water would be available in the whole of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas.
On the funding arrangement, Walter further said that AfDB would provide 200 million dollars, IDA, 80 million dollars and Rivers Government 48 million dollars as its counterpart contribution.
He applauded the AfDB for its preparedness to ensure that Rivers people had access to quality water supply and sanitation services.
According to the commissioner, the project is AfDB’s biggest water project in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The project will be managed by Messrs Rambol Denmark AS/Hospitalia Consultaire Limited JV with seasoned professionals in all relevant fields across the globe.
“There is provision for our own engineers to be trained and take over in the next two years,” he said. (NAN)