The Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu has hailed the Executive Director, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC), Engr. Magashi Umar Bashir on achievements. He made this disclosure on Thursday during an inspection visit to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
The Minister who was conducted round the Commission’s facilities by the Executive Director and Top Management Staff of the Commission, extols the leadership of the Commission for working dispassionately in order to reposition the water sector.
Adamu noted that the Commission was an important arm of the Ministry that should be given its independence when the National Water Resources Bill scales through. He urged staff of the Commission not to despair at the current development and politicisation of the Bill at the National Assembly.
It will be recalled that the Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC), an agency under the Federal Ministry of Water Resources was established in May 2007, following the setting up of a committee on Federal Government Public Reforms. The objective and mandate of the Commission is to regulate, protect, conserve and control water sources for equitable socio-economic development.
However, the Bill which seeks to grant the Commission the much needed legal backing was stalled in the 9th National Assembly, as many have since described the move as an attempt by the Federal Government to usurp the power of State Governments.
The helmsman of the Commission, Engr. Magashi while reeling out the Commission’s achievements said, “It has given out 86 water use licenses to companies using raw bulk water, within the eight years of President Buhari administration”. He added that the Commission has also given demand notices to 76 companies using raw water in pursuit of its enhanced revenue generation agenda to an expected income of N823 million. Continuing: the Executive Director said the Commission had partnered with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to investigate cases of violation of the Water Resources Act, noting that it had yielded positive results.
The Commission is Boss emphasised the need for exercising regulations oversight over water abstraction and water related activities, stating that current regulations had led to the revalidation of 50 licenses for users of bulk water. According to him, monitoring activities of the licensees would ensure that they operate within the terms and conditions, and would impact greatly on the Nigerian economy.
His words: “We as a Commission being aware of the revenue deficit in the nation’s revenue need are determined to make sure users of raw bulk water pay the appropriate charges. It is hoped that with all the efforts committed thus far, the Water Resources Bill will see the light of the day soon and effective implementation of the regulations of water resources can be possible”.
Reacting, the Minister said, those calling it ‘a buhari bill’ would have a change of heart soon, saying its aim was to make sure that the nation’s water sector remained competitive and regulated for the overall benefit of all. “The National Water Resources Bill is not a Buhari bill, those calling it all sorts of things are either misinformed, ignorant or mischievous; adding that it’s all dirty politics. Delaying its passage is denying the benefits accrued to the people”. He asserted.
The Minister expressed optimism that his successor would give the Commission the needed support to enable it carry out its mandate on integrated water management.
Head (Press & Public Relations)