The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, has said that the current moves to reform the nation’s River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) is to seek alternative sources of funding to shore-up their revenue base and make them self-reliant.
Adamu, who gave this hint while declaring open a three-day business implementation training on the partial commercialisation of four pilot River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) in Abuja on Tuesday, noted that government was not unaware of the challenges facing the RBDAs.
He reiterated that the reform of the RBDAs was not privatization but partial commercialization to make them economically viable, self-reliant and sustainable even as he assured of no job losses.
The Minister commended the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Transaction Adviser for organizing the training aimed at building requisite capacity for the RBDAs staff and other relevant actors towards a successful Commercialization of the pilot projects.
In his remarks at the forum, BPE Director General, Mr. Alex Okoh, restated the government’s commitment to the promotion of private sector participation in the operations, management and maintenance of the RBDAs without divesting its shares.
It would be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had selected four RBDAs, namely Ogun -Osun RBDA, Upper -Niger RBDA, Sokoto -Rima Basin RBDA and Niger- Delta RBDA for phased pilot partial commercialisation.
According to the BPE, some of the specific economic benefits of reform and commercialisation of the RBDAs include improved efficiency, effectiveness and cost consciousness; reduction in their dependency on government for funding; and realistic capital structures and improved ability to access private capital for investment in the infrastructure of the RBDAs.
Other gains of the commercialization plan are to ensure the RBDAs’ financial solvency through effective cost recovery, cost control and prudent financial management; viability and self-sustainability of the RBDAs; goal-oriented management and staff, whose future is linked to the fortunes of the organisations; and job creation for youths in rural areas.