The World Bank has announced the approval of $700 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) to finance the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services in Nigeria.
The credit approved under the Nigeria Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Programme (SURWASH) would help provide six million people with basic drinking water services, and 1.4 million people access to improved sanitation services.
The Bank said the programme would also deliver improved water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities as well as assist 500 communities to achieve open defecation-free status.
The implementation of these programmes would be undertaken as part of the Federal Government’s National Action Plan (NAP) for the Revitalization of Nigeria’s Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector.
Available data show that as at 2019, approximately 60 million Nigerians were living without access to basic drinking water services, 80 million without access to improved sanitation facilities, and 167 million without access to a basic handwashing facility.
Also, in the country’s rural areas, about 39 percent of households lacked access to at least basic water supply services, while only half have access to improved sanitation, and almost a third (29 percent) practice open defecation – a fraction that has marginally changed since 1990.
In recent years, the Federal Government has strengthened its commitment towards improving access to watee, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, spurred on by the need for Nigeria’s WASH sector to catch up with its regional counterparts.
The Bank said, this led to the government declaring a State of Emergency in 2018 and launching of the narional action plan to ensure universal access to sustainable and safely managed WASH services by 2030, in line with the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The WASH programme, the World Bank said, would support the NAP, a 13-year strategy prioritizing actions within three phases: Emergency Plan, Recovery Plan, and Revitalization Strategy.
The plan would also ensure a clean Nigeria, though the Use the Toilet Campaign to have Nigeria free of open defecation by 2025.
World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said:
“Given that access to WASH is an important determinant of human capital outcomes, including early childhood survival, nutrition, health, learning, and women’s empowerment – all of which in turn affect labour productivity and efficiency; the Programme’s centrality to the human capital agenda and its potential to influence key human capital outcomes cannot be overemphasized.
“Participating States will be able to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene which will help to keep more girls in school, create employment, and reduce open defecation, while developing greater resilience to the impact of climate change, as well as conflicts between different land and water users.”
The SURWASH Programme, he said, is performance-based, with participation open to all states of the federation based on their commitment to specific reforms in the sector.
“The Programme will support the Federal Government to enact necessary policy reforms and incentivize state and local governments, service providers, Technical Assistance providers, and community-based organizations (CBOs) to effectively deliver sustainable services in the sector.
“It will support a package of investments to expand access to and increase the use of WASH services in urban, small towns and rural areas.” “Specifically, the programme will support the development of infrastructure to improve water supply service delivery, sanitation and hygiene in institutions (schools and healthcare facilities) and public places such as markets, motor parks and others,” Chaudhuri said.
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