FG CLEARS AIR ON CONTROVERSIAL WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BILL

By IMAFIDON SUCCESS OZIEGBE

The water resources control bill currently on the floor of the Senate will promote co-operation in trans-boundary water management across basins and countries including tools for improving transparency and accountability within the water sector, the ministry of water resource said.

The ministry also stated further that the bill will “create clarity and ease for potential investors thereby reducing or eliminating legal, regulatory and other risks that have the impact of elevated projects costs due to uncertainty.”

The ministry stated this in a press release made available to Time Nigeria recently following the heated debate the bill generated in the senate recently.

According to the release signed by the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Adamu stated that co-operation in trans-boundary water management across basins and countries including tools for improving transparency and accountability within the water sector will be promoted when the bill is passed by the senate and eventually signed by the President.

Explaining that the bill is not a new law, Adamu said that it is an amalgamation of the existing Water Resources laws that have been in existence in the country.

According to the minister, “The overall objective is geared towards efficient management of the Water Resources Sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the well-being of its citizens.

“The bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and ground water for the use of all people (i.e. for domestic and non domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric energy, navigation, fisheries and recreation).

“The Federal Government intends to ensure through the provisions of the Law that the water resources of the Nation are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all persons in accordance with its constitutional mandate.

“It is noteworthy that the Water Resources Bill provides for the creation of an enabling environment for public and private sector investment. The Bill also provides for capacity building processes to foster good governance whilst establishing a water use and licensing framework to ensure sustainable financing for Water Sector Development from tariffs including creation of an enabling climate for increased private sector participation in service delivery under Public Private Partnership Management contracts.

“The Bill further seeks to create clarity and ease for potential investors thereby reducing or eliminating legal, regulatory and other risks that have the impact of elevated projects costs due to uncertainty.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki during the debate on the passage of the bill directed an adhoc committed to look into observation raised by senators opposed to the bill following the objection of Senate Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio and some other senators.

The senator and others, mainly from riverrine areas argued that the bill would deprive the people living along the riverbanks their basic livelihood if the bill is passed.

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