N360b Needed To Provide Water For Nigerians -FG

By Akin Akande, Abuja
Federal government yesterday disclosed that about N360 billion would be needed to provide potable water for over 160 million Nigerians.

It also disclosed that the 23 on-going dam projects across the country with the capacity to generate about 3.4 million jobs at the cost of N156 billion, would be completed before 2015.
Disclosing this on Thursday while briefing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) on the on-going scorecard report of ministries, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, assured that with all measures being put in place and cooperation of all stakeholders, the PDP led federal government would deliver its mandate on water to Nigerian populace, which will make them to vote the PDP again in 2015.
She disclosed that only 55.6 per cent of amount appropriated in 2012 was made available to the ministry, adding that the rehabilitated irrigation projects, which were completed in 2012, at the cost N18.1 billion, would generate 113, 304 jobs.
Ochekpe said that the on-going irrigation projects scheduled to be completed in 2015, at the cost of N112.1 billion, have the capacity to generate 636, 240 jobs, adding that the water projects that were completed in 2012 cost N3.4 billion and would served about 640,000 population.
The Minister disclosed while fielding questions from journalists that federal government contributes 40 percent for the maintenance of Lake Chad Basin Commission, adding that as at 2012, it paid N450 million.

She expressed worried over the incessant drilling of boreholes in the country and the negative impact the drilling would have on the environment.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Sada, while also briefing the PDP NWC members disclosed that Ajaokuta Steel Company will start operation soon.
He said that before the inception of this administration, there was nothing on ground in the ministry, adding that at the moment, through the activities of the mining sector, it has been able to contribute
N60 billion to the federation account.
Sada said that there is no local government in the country that has no mineral resources, adding that 34 mineral types exist in the country in different locations.
He disclosed that Nigeria has coal estimate reserves of over 2.7 billion tonnes of bitumen, 27 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Iron Ore 10 billion tonnes, limestone 3 trillion tonnes and 1 million ounces of gold.
The Minister lamented that the ministry only got N1.6 billion out of the N2.16 billion budgeted for 2012 , adding that inadequate funding, inadequate manpower, lack of adequate mines special purpose surveillance equipment for field work and revenue collection/monitoring are the challenges facing the mines sector.

Other challenges, according to him are, “illegal mining activities and smuggling of minerals and lack of legal and regulatory framework for steel sector.”
Earlier, the National Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur said water resources and water preservation are the most important programmes of the party.
He added that what the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is doing was in line with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck. Jonathan.