Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State and the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Sulaiman H. Adamu have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on collaborative funding of the Gombe Regional Water Supply Project.
The MoU is aimed at actualizing the rehabilitation, upgrading and expansion of the 50 Million Litres Per Day Gombe Regional Water Supply Scheme in line with Governor Yahaya’s commitment to provide adequate and sustainable water supply to Gombe metropolis and adjoining local government areas as well as improving water supply facilities/ infrastructure to meet the emerging Water demand in Gombe State in general.
Speaking at the occasion, Governor Yahaya said inspite of the challenges associated with the prevailing time, his administration was able to put the Dadinkowa regional water Scheme into productive use for the benefit of the people of the State.
The Governor said through synergy with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, the Gombe Regional Water Scheme was expanded to benefit both Gombe Metropolis and environs, describing the commitment displayed by the Minister towards the full utilisation of the scheme as commendable.
“From Dadinkowa to Gombe is about 15 kilometres and the project was done at the cost of about 10 billion naira then with the support of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and since that time it has never tasted failure, yes challenges may have contributed to it operating sluggishly, but with the effort we are putting; we are maximizing its use to the extent that today on the average we are supplying the metropolis with not less than 40 million litres of water”.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya observed that the rapid growth and population increase as well as the influx of Internally Displaced Persons into the State from contiguous states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa due to insurgency, presuppose the need for the expansion of the water supply scheme to meet with the ever growing demand.
The Governor thanked the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for championing various projects aimed at improving safe drinking water to Nigerians, assuring that his administration will continue to work in partnership with the Federal government and relevant agencies in order to enhance the provision of water to the people of the State.
“Recently we signed the order banning open defecation in Gombe and we declared an emergency on Water Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH so we are working in tandem with the Ministry of Water Resources in order to actualize its ambitious projects”.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya said the Gombe State Government under his leadership will always approach the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for partnership in areas that can be beneficial to the people of the State and the Federal government.
He however expressed concern with the slow pace if the third National Urban Water Sector Reform Project which Gombe State has keyed into and paid its counterpart fund, urging the Minister to intervene with a view to pursuing it to its logical conclusion.
The Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu said in meeting with challenges of water supply to Nigerians the Federal Government adopted numerous strategies to improve service delivery in the sector.
One of such strategies, the Minister explains was to foster improved partnership of implementation with States in line with the National Water and Sanitation policy that has been in place since year 2000 and reinforced by the National water policy that was approved under the present administration.
“The centre piece of the policy was the provision of sufficient portable water and adequate sanitation to all Nigerians at an affordable and sustainable way through participatory investment by the three tiers of government, the private sector and the beneficiaries themselves”.
“To enable us operationalize this laudable provision of the policy, I initiated way back in 2017, a budget line titled “COUNTERPART FUND FOR URBAN WATER SUPPLY IMPROVEMENT IN LINE WITH NATIONAL WATER SUPPLY POLICY” in the annual Budget of my Ministry. I am pleased and encouraged that Gombe State Government is the first to tap into this budget line in accordance with our vision. I urge other States to emulate this BIG handshake with the Jewel in the Savannah!”
He said this was envisaged to improve system coordination and engender court sharing arrangements for the execution of capital projects and sustainable operation and maintenance of existing facilities, saying under this policy the court sharing in Investment for water supply is such that the Federal Government will contribute 30 percent of the project capital cost while States and Local Government will Finance the balance of 70 percent.
“There is no gainsaying the numerous benefits derivable from this project if vigorously pursued to its full implementation. I am sure the people of Gombe township and its environs will witness a new lease of life with other attendant benefits such as improved health, improved school enrolment as children will spend less time fetching water from streams and other unsafe sources; job creation as well as operation and maintenance of the water facility”.
The Minister commended the efforts and positive disposition of Governor Inuwa Yahaya towards the realization of these noble goals, assuring him of the Ministry’s support towards the full implementation of the MoU.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Gombe State Commissioner for Water Resources, Mijinyawa Yahaya, Special Adviser to the the Governor, Abuja Liaison, Usman Aliyu Garry and other officials of the ministry and those of Gombe State Government.